An International diplomatic sports charity Football for Peace (FfP), co-founded by British Footballer Kashif Siddiqi and Chilean FIFA Legend Elia Figueroa, launched its #FootballSavesLives campaign, aiming to train the next generation of young leaders in how to harness a shared passion for football to bring together their local communities.
FfP launched the #FootballSavesLives initiative, which pledges to train 500 Young Peace Leaders by 2020, at FfP’s Peace Tournament, held on the 22nd November 2018 at the Copper Box Arena. The Duke of Cambridge attended the event.
The peace tournament brought together footballing ambassadors Mesut Ozil, Louis Saha, Bacary Sagna, Mamadou Sakho, Carlton Cole, Cherno Samba, Avram Grant and newly trained Young Peace Leaders. These Peace Leaders had already been through the programme to manage the teams from different schools across Newham. During the Peace Tournament these teams were branded as Equality, Diversity, Unity, Friendship and Dialogue.
The event honoured the Young Peace Leaders from across the UK who graduated from the City for Peace initiative this year. Through this programme, FfP works in conjunction with local councils, football clubs and schools to train young people aged 15-18 in how to unite their communities on and off the pitch, from running local football tournaments to organising classroom workshops to discuss the issues currently dividing their communities.
On the day, The Duke attended a workshop on tolerance and team building, which was delivered by FfP tutors and attended by Young Peace Leaders. His Royal Highness then met the charity’s Footballing Ambassadors and students who took part in breaking down a wall with footballs in a message against hate and violence to support the #FootballSavesLives campaign.
“I am delighted that the #FootballSavesLives campaign, launched today, will see more of you trained to bring young people from across the country together. Football is not just a game. It is part of the fabric of this nation – providing a common interest and a unifying identity. It brings us together in the enjoyment of a simple pastime, without complication but with plenty of passion!”, the Duke of Cambridge said in a speech.
“With the #FootballSavesLives campaign, we want to encourage all football lovers and peace defenders to support our pledge to train the next generation of Young Peace Leaders to create more peaceful and tolerant communities across the UK. These schools in normal instance, hardly mix let alone play on same teams, the country needs more integration activities”, says FfP co-founder Kashif Siddiqi.
Adding to this, Arsenal player Mesut Ozil said: “I am proud to support an initiative which brings people together in the such divided times we are living in”.