The IOC, the FC Barcelona Foundation (FFCB) and the Olympafrica Foundation unite for young people in Africa
The IOC, the Olympafrica Foundation and the FC Barcelona Foundation (FFCB) have announced a new agreement to bring sport to people of all ages and abilities throughout Africa. Following the success of a previous pilot programme, IOC President Thomas Bach, FC Barcelona Chairman Sandro Rosell, and IOC honorary member and President of the Olympafrica Foundation and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) General Lassana Palenfo today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.
This agreement will see the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup being developed and implemented until 2016. The programme will use the network of the 39 Olympafrica centres throughout the continent to promote values of sport and education through to 2016.
A successful pilot project
This new agreement follows on from the MoU signed on 17 April 2013 between the IOC and the FC Barcelona Foundation, supporting joint actions in the area of development through sport and the promotion of the Olympic values. The two sports organisations made a commitment to strengthening 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.
This year, the Olympafrica centres in 23 African countries hosted 26 local tournaments for 12 to15 year-olds, held over two months. Furthermore, a regional tournament took place in May in Burundi, bringing together teams from the Olympafrica centres in neighbouring countries. The programme was greatly appreciated by the 65,000 young participants who took part in the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup in the various centres, as well as by the Olympafrica educators. Finally, the sports equipment provided to each centre, including balls and jerseys, contributed to the success of this pilot project.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “This is an exciting project that will first and foremost bring the joy of sport and competition to children and people of all ages throughout Africa. While enjoying sport, they will also learn the values that make sport such a powerful tool in the fields of development and education. It is great to bring our network of Olympafrica centres together with the FC Barcelona Foundation and to see the programme developing over the next three years. I would like to thank the FC Barcelona Foundation and the Olympafrica Foundation for their continuing commitment to sport and to the people whose lives it greatly influences.”
Sandro Rosell commented: “We are very proud to work with an organisation as prestigious as the International Olympic Committee. Thanks to this project we can continue to spread our belief that sport, and football in particular, is an inexhaustible source of values and a universal language. This project has enjoyed success in Catalonia, Brazil and the Middle East, and thanks to this partnership it can keep on developing in Africa.”
General Lassana Palenfo concluded: “We would like to thank the IOC and the FC Barcelona Foundation for implementing and developing the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup. For us, this programme is an important educational and social tool which contributes to young people’s development on the continent. The support of the IOC and the FFCB has allowed us, and, above all, will continue to allow us to provide more opportunities to young African people and local communities to practise sport and to become empowered.”
As from next year, all the operational Olympafrica centres will benefit from the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup programme, with some 100,000 young people participating. The number of regional tournaments will also increase gradually, and a continental final will be organised from 2015 onwards.
Development through sport in Africa
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 39 centres across 35 African countries.