The UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at the Stade de France on 17 May will be preceded by an innovative public football carnival called the UEFA Champions Festival.
Host of activities
The event, taking place over five days just opposite the Eiffel Tower in Paris, will be opened by former France captain Laurent Blanc at 10.00CET on Saturday 13 May and run until 18.30CET on the day of the match. The festival will be a celebration of European club football and will include a host of football games and fun activities. It will be open to all fans in the city of Paris and there is no entry fee.
Open to all
"When we decided to come back to Paris to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first European Champion Clubs' Cup final, there was no way we could celebrate with a 'private party'," said UEFA President Lennart Johansson. "Our aim was to throw the doors wide open and invite everybody to join in."
With the support of the UEFA Champions League's official sponsors, UEFA and the French Football Federation have created a whole village dedicated to football. A giant video screen will be an impressive feature and fans will be able to buy official souvenirs. They will also have the opportunity to take a closer look at the new UEFA Champions League trophy which will be on display after its tour around France.
On Sunday 14 May at 10.00CET, the Starball Match will kick off. This is a 50-hour non-stop football game that will take place on the main pitch at the Place Trocadéro, and will feature two five-a-side teams consisting of around 500 players each. In another celebration marking 50 years since the first European Cup final – which was also staged in Paris - it was decided to extend the length of the match to 50 hours, instead of the 'normal' 24-hour period of previous editions. The game will last until Tuesday 16 May at 12.30CET.
On 13/14 May, just across the River Seine at the Stade Emile Anthoine near the Eiffel Tower, the UEFA Young Champions tournament will take place. The event is designed for youngsters aged between ten and 16, and 128 teams will play a five-a-side round-robin competition, with the best going through to play semi-finals and a final at 18.00CET on 17 May on the main pitch at the Champions Festival site.
For security reasons, the UEFA Champions League final itself will not be shown on the giant screen installed at the Champions Festival venue.
For more information, click here or simply visit the UEFA Champions League Festival site from Saturday 14 May onwards.
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