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Release Date: 03/08/2012

OVER the last few months a project has been taking place involving Under 17 players from three football clubs from across Interface areas in North Belfast: Newington FC, Loughside FC and Crusaders FC.

The project was funded by Belfast City Council Good Relations, the Irish FA and UEFA RESPECT aiming to use the participants’ love of football as a mechanism to promote good relations.


There were two parts to the programme in total: a residential trip and a final tournament.


Unfortunately Crusaders were unable to attend the residential in May but the remaining teams’ players and coaches all took part in a range of workshops and activities all of which were fully integrated.


Facilitators from the Triple V project run by 174 trust in Belfast were invited along to deliver some interactive age specific workshops dealing with topics such as personnel values, leadership and expressive debates.


Stafford Ward, coach of Loughside FC said: “It’s great for teams from either side of the interfaces to get opportunities just to be around each other; have joint experiences and develop as individuals through football.”


David White also delivered tailored practical pitch based sessions linking a variety of physical skills and sport experiences through to personnel assessments and judgements that can be made off the pitch as well. 


The teams also faced a different challenge altogether, when they had to battle their way up a river together in a deep bouldering session, which saw everyone out of their comfort zone and off their feet!


The final part was a mini tournament which Crusaders hosted at their ground Seaview. All players and coaches exercised the values and ethics of the project during the evening, respecting the referee and other players. The eventual winners on the evening were Crusaders after a tight penalty shoot out with Newington, winning coach Brian Glover said: “We were really pleased to be a part of this project, it’s so important for our players to understand how big a role this sport can play in their lives, not only playing wise, but by developing respect, responsibility and knowledge, it will build them as people as well as players.” 


The Fair Play Respect awards were won by Chris Begley (Newington FC), Frankie Coughrane (Loughside FC) and Gavin White (Crusaders FC). Paddy Duffy, coach of Newington FC said: “The players enjoyed the project, by taking part they made friends in the other clubs, some of whom they still talk to now after the project has finished.”


Irish FA Head of Community Relations Michael Boyd said: “Projects like this are great to be able to deliver something back to those working tirelessly in our communities using the medium of football to promote positive change and support development with our youth.


“The players and coaches should all be commended for their endeavour in creating positive role models and leaders in their clubs and communities for now and the future.”

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  • North Belfast Project - aug 2012

    Davy White putting a group through their paces out on the pitch at Greenhill.

  • North Belfast Project - aug 2012

    Players making their way up-river guided by instructors from Greenhill YMCA.

  • North Belfast Project - aug 2012

    Group of Newington Players about to take the plunge!

  • UEFA Respect logo - june 2012

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