Easter symbolises the passage into spring after the long, dark winter months. For thousands of grassroots footballers across Europe, the holiday weekend is a celebration of the joy of football in tournaments of all types – with players of all ages travelling across the continent to share in the fun.
Many of the events to be staged this Easter will come under the banner of the Dutch-based Euro-Sportring, a foundation which has, through a pan-European network, been organising international events in all age categories for over 40 years. “In all those years, more than one million active participants from 40 countries have experienced tournaments abroad with us,” the body proudly announces. “They all share the same thing – their passion for football!”
Euro-Sportring has an illustrious board of directors, which includes past and present UEFA luminaries. The chairman of the board is Switzerland’s Hans Bangerter, who served as UEFA’s general secretary from 1960-89, and is currently an honorary UEFA member. Ernest Walker (Scotland), chairman of the UEFA Stadium and Security Committee, is treasurer, and the current UEFA honorary treasurer, Mathieu Sprengers (Netherlands) is a board member.
“With the introduction of Euro-Sportring more than 40 years ago, the foundation met the needs of a great deal of like-minded people and organisations,” said Mr Bangerter. “The desire to become acquainted with other people through sport is still existent.”
Thousands of players
This weekend, 45 Euro-Sportring tournaments are taking place across Europe. Approximately 65,000 players will be involved. The tournaments are not only being held with a view to impressing on the field. There will be a variety of activities at each tournament which aim to bring together footballers of different nationalities and backgrounds. Transport and accommodation are also taken care of during the events.
Euro-Sportring has superb relations with Europe’s national football associations – the proof can be seen in the number of high-profile names who are involved in the organisation’s management. Wherever a team travels for a tournament they will be able to seek assistance from special representatives who form part of an international network put in place by the body, which has its head office in the Dutch town of Baarn.
The co-operation of local authorities is crucial to Euro-Sportring events. “Euro-Sportring is an attractive partner not only to committees organising tournaments, but to local council authorities as well,” it explains. “A tournament attracts a broad audience in a positive manner. It promotes the town as well as tournament organisation. Therefore, many tournaments are actively supported by their local councils. Accommodation and facilities are often made available. Many local councils arrange for receptions for participants and team leaders, help the organisation with their activities, or grant a special subsidy to the tournament organisation. In whatever form, the support of the local authorities guarantees the participants a special event.”
Thousands of volunteers also devote themselves to the smooth running of tournaments. “Volunteers, staff, participants and others involved in a Euro-Sportring event all have one thing in common," said Mr Bangerter. “Passion for football and the desire to establish new contacts across borders – out of idealism or simply for adventure."
“The happy faces of these boys and girls at such an international football event are living and speaking proof that sport brings people together,” he added. Across Europe this Easter, players and enthusiasts young and old will unite in a vast football festival underpinning the sport’s eternal appeal.
Further details of Euro-Sportring, its tournaments and the organisation’s structures can be found at the following address:
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