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Sports Programs

Spirit of Noble Rivalry at Peace Football Tournament

Moscow, Russia—UPF once again organized a football festival, titled Play Football for Peace, related to the United Nations holiday International Day of Peace.

At the opening of the tournament on September 29, 2018, in southeastern Moscow’s Lyublino district, Dmitry Samko, the secretary general of UPF-Moscow and coordinator of the tournament, explained the main ideas of the project: expanding among young people a culture of peace, tolerance and a healthy lifestyle; respect for elders, hospitality, and the spirit of noble rivalry.

The uniqueness of such tournaments under the “Play Football for Peace” motto lies in their social orientation. Surely real sporting passions were seething on the football field, and the teams tried their best to win. But the traditional motto in such tournaments is “The main thing is not victory; the main thing is participation.”

After all, young people play football primarily for the sake of friendship and peace, bypassing language and social barriers. It should be noted that holding such sporting events in the Lyublino district has become a good tradition, popular among young people and adults.

This year, a father and his daughter played together on one of the teams. Polina Batova, 16, captain of the Metallist team, said: “For my team, this experience was new, but despite all the difficulties, we really liked the tournament. This is a great opportunity for all football fans to get together on a day off and play. I liked it very much that they take in anyone. Even our team with two girls was accepted without any problem, and supported by everyone. There was no bad language used at the tournament, which is also very nice.”

Teams in two groups struggled to reach the semifinals. In the first semifinal, there was a competition between the Samolyot (“Airplane”) team from the town of Lyubertsy and the Grasshoppers team. The main time ended with the score 1:1 (the guests from Lyubertsy won on penalties). In the second semifinal, the team from the Chertanovo neighborhood won over the White Guard team. In the consolation final, Grasshoppers won the third place. The final ended with a score of 0:0, and in the penalty shootout the guests from Chertanovo were luckier. Despite tense matches, the award ceremony was held in a friendly and formal atmosphere, and the tournament itself was held in full accordance with the main principle of FIFA: “Fair play.”

One of the main organizers, captain of the White Guard team, Sergei Getman, shared his impressions: “I don’t know which one in a series of the Play Football for Peace tournaments was held on that day. And this time – with the participation of seven teams, to the whistles and cries of excited fans. Goals scored, medals handed out, we are waiting for the next tournament with great impatience."

Usman Mirzoaliev, 20 years old, captain of the Grasshoppers team, said: “Thanks to all the organizers for the exciting tournament! I think everyone liked it. And thanks to my team for such a good game. Already the third time we win the third place. But next time we will try to play better.”

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