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Interreligious Peace Football Tournament in Moscow

Moscow, Russia - A “Play Football Make Peace” youth tournament took place at the Moskvich Sports Palace on January 30. In honor of the World Interfaith Harmony Week that was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, teams of representatives of different religions came together to play football not only to win prizes but also for the sake of making friendship between different people beyond their religious, cultural, and national backgrounds, and creating dialogue.

In his speech at the opening of the tournament, UPF-Russia Secretary General Konstantin Krylov emphasized: "Today, we all are equal and all play for peace, mutual understanding, and mutual respect, regardless of our nationality or place of residence."

Among the participants there were teams representing Islam (Coordination Center of the Azerbaijan youth in the Russian Federation), Unificationism, and Scientology Church of Moscow as well as Orthodox Christianity. In the first semifinal, the team of the Unificationists won over the team of Scientologists with a score of 8:3, while the team from the Brateyevo district of Moscow won over the “KSAM” team (4:3). In the match for the bronze medal, the Scientology church won; and the winner of the final was the team from Brateyevo.

It was clear that the football players absorbed the atmosphere and spirit of the “Play Football Make Peace” tournament, and they parted good friends expressing a desire to continue with such tournaments, because football is becoming more of social phenomena with educational aspect, not merely a sport. We have no doubt that in the near future such sports events will be increasing in number.

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