Football: Against Discrimination and Racism

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Note: This article was originally done in Spanish by Juan Ignacio Orúe, an Argentinian journalist accredited to the United Nations, Geneva. I currently serve as the Vice-president of the United Nations Football Club (FC ONU). The International Seniors Football Tournament against Discrimination and Racism is one of the initiatives of the club.

The first edition of the International Seniors Football Tournament against Discrimination and Racism was held on Saturday, 2 July 2016 at the Colovray Sports Center in Nyon, Switzerland. Held in an atmosphere of camaraderie, fellowship and friendship the tournament brought together 4 teams, namely: United National Football Club (FC ONU) from Geneva, Stade Nyonnais from Nyon, UEFA and SD Eibar from Spain.

The teams shared a full day of activities which began with a visit of the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, followed by the round-robin tournament and culminating in an evening in which the teams shared a meal while watching Germany play Italy in the quarter-final of the European Championship, Euro 2016. The visiting team, SD Eibar, had on the the previous day toured the United Nations Offices in Geneva, Palais des Nations.

The tournament which was played throughout the afternoon, saw each team come up against every other on the well-manicured lawns at Covolray. The teams displayed great moves as they engaged each other in a competitive yet friendly atmosphere with players exchanging pleasantries in the language of football.

“I love to play with my colleagues from the United Nations”, expressed Marius Gologus from Romania. “Geneva is an international city and football helps to get together with people where you don’t have your childhood friends.”

Colombian Jorge Mesa who works as a driver for the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the UN Office in Geneva was equally elated, “In addition to participating in this tournament, I enjoy playing together  with my friends from Paraguay, Chile and other parts of the world every Friday.” Jorge turned out for the UEFA team.

Captains from the 4 participating teams

Eventual winners, SD Eibar, were a joy to watch demonstrating great football winning all their matches on their way to clinching the cup. The team was composed of former professionals and their first team currently plays in the Spanish La Liga.

“The games were very entertaining. It was difficult to play against Eibar as they are a very strong team, most of whom have played in the the Spanish first division,” admitted a player from Stade Nyonnais.

As noted earlier the visit served as a mini tour for the team which began on Friday with a visit to the UN headquarters and culminated with a visit to the Old Town Geneva where they enjoyed typical Swiss cuisine.

“We appreciate the invitation extended to us by the United Nations Football Club. We had a great time and hope to participate in the tournament next year,” said SD Eibar President who was more than excited to be flying back to Spain with the winner’s cup.

Juan Luis Crucelegui, vice president of the United Nations Football Club who works for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), thanked the teams for their participation and solidarity throughout the tournament. He looks forward to the second edition to be held next year.

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