SARI Soccerfest 2014

Last year's SARI Soccerfest tournament winners, the Galway All Stars. Pic: SARI

Last year’s SARI Soccerfest tournament winners, the Galway All Stars.

Enjoy a multicultural weekend of sporting Fair Play with SARI Soccerfest in Phoenix Park this weekend!

The largest intercultural seven-a-side football tournament in Europe, Soccerfest has been running since 1997 to work against racism and discrimination, to promote dignity and respect for all, and to encourage cultural integration and social development.

The massive event will see 40 men’s teams, eight women’s teams, eight under-15s teams, and eight under-13s teams taking part. Tournament organiser Sport Against Racism Ireland has managed to raise enough funds to pay for eight teams from Direct Provision Centres around the country to travel to the tournament, along with their friends and family.

The matches will work a little differently to the average football match. Before the tournament begins, the teams will be introduced to Fair Play football and UEFA’s Respect campaign, and instead of having a referee calling the shots, each match will be facilitated by a SARI Youth Mediator. When a player believes a foul has been committed, they simply raise their hand, and the parties involved use dialogue to resolve the issue themselves.

As the tournament is about more than just winning, there is a trophy for more than just the winning teams. The opposing teams will receive Fair Play points after their matches, with a Fair Play Cup also awarded at the end of the tournament.

The tournaments will be played concurrently on Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 5pm. There will be music and entertainment throughout the weekend, as well as a special match being played at 2pm on Sunday between the SARI All Stars and the LOVE/HATE All Stars!

For more information, check out SARI’s website or Facebook page. You can also watch last year’s tournament highlights here.

By Aimée Mac Leod