After yet more scandal engulfing the national game, Football Beyond Borders (FBB), the South London-based educational charity put on an event to remind people of the sport’s positive impact.
This was a night to celebrate and showcase the power of football to bring people together and share their stories– with teenage FBB participants hosting the night and professional footballer Adebayo Akinfenwa leading the lineup of special guests.
Akinfenwa was visibly moved by what he described as ‘an inspiring night with inspiring people’. “I didn’t know too much about (the event) before but I’m so glad I came down”, the Wycombe striker explained. “Just hearing the stories, the drive from the young individuals. I’ll be getting involved in this charity. I think people need to know about FBB.”
Vuj, who was born in the former Yugoslavia and is most well known from his role as presenter for YouTube channel Copa90, gave his take on the evening. “There is so much that divides us in the world”, he said. “Football is a power than really can unite us regardless of race, gender or colour.”
Also on the panel was Sky Sports Spanish football expert and FBB patron Guillem Balague, who has supported FBB’s programme for four years.
“The evening went marvellously and I can see how my job is disappearing every year, because it’s being taken over by those guys that four years ago were just here to learn”, Balague chuckled.
“Four years ago it was about showing what we are about”, explained the Spanish pundit. “I think people have got to know what we are about and it’s just a matter of saying ‘ok, we need help, we need people to give us a hand’, because without that it’s not going to be able to continue.”
This highlight of the FBB year gives young people a platform to demonstrate the skills they’ve picked up after working with the charity over the past 12 months, with complete faith being put in the participants to plan the agenda and fulfil key roles on the night. FBB provides free, weekly classroom-based lessons, and practical football sessions for 400+ children.
-Authored by Harry Corton