Can football contribute towards world peace?

Football for Peace in Eastbourne
Football for Peace in Eastbourne

FOOTBALL is a game which crossses the world’s boundaries and which on Monday was part of a unique multi-cultural project in Eastbourne.

Hundreds of children kicked off the Easter holidays by taking part in an ambitious sports initiative which brought 135 Arab and Jewish sports coaches to the town.

The Israeli and Jordanian sports coaches and colleagues from Ireland and across the UK were in Eastbourne for the annual Football 4 Peace training event at the University of Brighton’s Chelsea School of Sport.

On Monday (April 2), nearly 200 schoolchildren from the East Sussex area enjoyed a free festival of coaching and over the weekend hundreds of local children will took part in a free training session at the university in association with Eastbourne Town Football Club.

Football 4 Peace aims to use sports and related recreational activities to build bridges between fractured communities in regions where political and ethno-religious divisions promote sectarian separation and conflict.

Currently Football 4 Peace operates in Israel, Jordan and cross border in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

The residential UK training event involves value-based football coaching session and team building exercises supported by a range of lectures and cultural activities.

Dr Gary Stidder, co-founder of the project, which began in 2001, said, “This sports festival allows young people to enjoy learning and playing football together in non-threatening settings.

“The activities and coaching devised by the initiative promotes interaction, allowing longer-term relationships and cross-community understanding to flourish.”