Asseguts al terra en cercle, un grup d'homes parlen entre ells. Porten una samarreta de FutbolNet.

The training staff together in one of the sessions in Saudi Arabia. PHOTO: FCB

For the third year in a row the ‘FutbolNet’ programme is under way in the Middle East. Furthermore, in 2015 Saudi Arabia has joined Qatar, Iraq and Oman in the group of countries participating in the initiative. As every year the project this year has begun with training seminars for the educational staff who are spearheading the sessions. The objective of the seminars is to introduce the local professionals to the philosophy that the FC Barcelona Foundation wish to communicate and to analyse in detail the teaching methods involved in the project.

From the four countries involved, almost 200 teaching staff attended the sessions that took place a few weeks ago in Doha, Masqat and Jubail. For logistical reasons, the sessions for Iraq took place in Beirut in the Lebanon. The sessions were also useful to share ideas about the use of sport as means of promoting positive values and in general the sessions were very well received by the training staff.

Incorporation of girls in Iraq

Aside from the incorporation of Saudi Arabia into the project, the other big change this year is the additions of girls to the initiative in Iraq. Since the beginning of the project one of the main priorities of the Foundation’s team has been to promote community work to help girls also take part in the project. After Qatar and Oman admitted girls into the scheme, this year it is the turn of more than 100 Iraqis girls to take part in a specially prepared sporting facility. In the area of the Middle East, at the moment more than 4,000 children participate in ‘FutbolNet’ in two separate weekly sessions.

‘FutbolNet’ is a educational methodology that attempts to educate children and young adults via the promotion of positive values through the practice of sport. The project works with five key concepts: strength, respect, team work, humility and ambition. Currently, aside from the Middle East, the project is also in place in Catalonia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and 35 African countries, reaching more than 100,000 beneficiaries.