IOC, FC Barcelona teaming up in Africa
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach welcomed Barcelona Football Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu i Floreta to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne earlier this week where the pair discussed the impressive reach and progress of the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup programme.
Jointly run by the IOC, the FC Barcelona Foundation (FFCB) and the Olympafrica Foundation, the programme uses football as an educational tool to promote the values of sport, such as team-building, fair play and respect for others, to young people in Africa. In 2014 – the first year of the programme following a successful pilot project in 2013 – the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup reached over 95,000 young people in 34 African nations. The programme is scheduled to continue through 2016 with a focus on the strengthening of the regional phase. As of next year, each of the 38 Olympafrica Centres will have the opportunity to participate in a local and regional tournament.
"At the IOC we want to bring the values of sport to all fields of society, across all borders, and to foster Olympism year-round,” said IOC President Bach. “Through this partnership with the FC Barcelona Foundation, we are providing almost 100,000 young people throughout Africa with the opportunity to practise sport and be empowered thanks to the educational programme which promotes Olympic values such as friendship, excellence and respect. I thank FC Barcelona for this collaboration and their commitment to place sport at the service of humankind.”
In addition to providing access to sport and education, the programme is also set to donate up to 12,000 t-shirts, 12,000 bibs and 3,000 footballs to the 38 Olympafrica Centres.
The two organisations first signed an MoU on 17 April 2013 aimed at supporting joint actions in the area of development through sport and the promotion of the Olympic values. In December 2013 a new agreement was signed. The two sports organisations made a commitment to strengthen the Olympafrica Foundation’s existing football programme on offer in community sports centres to young people throughout Africa, adding an educational aspect thanks to the implementation of the FFCB’s FutbolNet method. FutbolNet’s objective is to pass on the positive values of sport to the young participants through the pleasure of playing and practising football.
Olympafrica, which was initiated by the IOC, aims to further social development through sport and promote the creation of small-scale sports and socio-educational centres in African countries, in collaboration with National Olympic Committees and local communities, in order to encourage and assist the development of talented youngsters through local training programmes. The idea for such an initiative was first launched in 1988 to enable developing countries to benefit fully from the positive impact of Olympism. Today, the Olympafrica programme offers a wide range of sporting, social and educational activities for young people and communities in 38 centres across 34 African countries.