Recently, the Friendly Football Day brought together NeaSalamina Football Club and the Mağusa Türk Gücü Football Club in a symbolic match in Pyla, on the island of Cyprus, to foster dialogue and cooperation between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities through sport.
This gathering, organized by Peace and Sport was the second of the kind in 64 years, inviting fans from the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to rally around the positive values of football. In partnership with the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and with the support of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the European Commission, the European Parliament and Eleven Campaign, the Friendly Football Day gathered children, families, athletes and leaders of both communities.
In the presence of Mrs. Elizabeth Spehar, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, leader of the Greek Cypriot community and Mr. Didier Drogba, football star and Vice-President of Peace and Sport, Nea Salamina and MağusaTürk Gücü played under the rules and values of respect and bi-communal exchange. The two teams played against each other in the first half of the game, and they played in mixed teams in the second half of the game, to demonstrate bi-communal cooperation.
Mr. Joël Bouzou, Peace and Sport President and Founder, said:
“Today, we are celebrating the diplomatic power of sport. Sport is neutral and has the capacity to bring people together. Pyla is one of the two remaining bi-communal village of the island. It is very symbolical to hold an event aiming at fostering bi-communal dialogue in such a place.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Spehar, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, said declared:
“We are looking at sport as a way to bring people together, to eliminate barriers and to foment reconciliation. We are very proud to be part of this event organized by Peace and Sport here in Pyla.”
Earlier in the morning, Didier Drogba alongside with Laurence Fischer, Champion for Peace, three-time World Champion, Karate icon and Founder of “Fight for dignity”, animated peace-through-sport activities for children.
The 2019 WhiteCard campaign, a global campaign promoting the positive role of sport, was launched on this occasion. More than 1000 children, spectators, athletes and officials raised a WhiteCard in Pyla stadium as a gesture of inclusion and peace. The WhiteCard is the symbol of the peace-through-sport movement and aims to promote the positive role of sport. Last year, the WhiteCard digital campaign reached 90 million people worldwide.
Source: Peace and Sport