SMALL WORLD AIMS TO KEEP ON GROWING; LOCAL CLUB WITH A GLOBAL OUTLOOK United by Common Love of the Game

The Mirror (London, England), February 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

SMALL WORLD AIMS TO KEEP ON GROWING; LOCAL CLUB WITH A GLOBAL OUTLOOK United by Common Love of the Game


Byline: BY RORY MALLON

CREATED and supported by the Irish Football Association as part of their Football For All campaign, World United is an multicultural football team based in Belfast.

The team is now more diverse than ever with players from countries across the world including Portugal, Qatar, the Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe.

Developed to promote respect through the medium of football, last September the project achieved its own independence.

The scheme is supported by the IFA, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, UEFA, Belfast City Council's Good Relations Unit and the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation.

Its goals are unwavering; to increase the participation of people from ethnic minorities into local football, and provide an environment free from racism, sectarianism and discrimination.

The team's captain, Aruna Djalo, was attracted to it because of the "sense of getting involved in something worthwhile".

Djalo himself testifies that it has a beneficial impact on his life, helping foster a sense of community.

"It has managed to keep the same people involved all these years," he said.

He also revealed that it has opened a lot of doors for him into the local community and local football.

"If it wasn't for this project I probably still wouldn't be involved in football," he said.

In order to formalise the structures, a committee was established. Meeting monthly to focus on the strategies needed to move forward, it is hoped that this centralisation of decision-making will improve the marketability of the club.

One thing that is accepted is that greater publicity is needed. There are 22 players in the World United team, but they hope to expand the squad. …

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