Barcelona joins forces with IOC in African development project

FC Barcelona and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have agreed a new partnership that will see the two parties work together on joint projects that promote development through the power of sport.

Both the FC Barcelona Foundation (FFCB) and the IOC use sport as a means to aid social and human development, as well as a tool for educating and promoting the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship. The new Memorandum of Understanding will allow the two organisations to benefit from each other’s experience – maximising the reach and impact of their activities. As part of the deal, both organisations have committed to the further development of Olympafrica. The initiative was launched by the IOC to further social development through sport, and promote the creation of small-scale sports and socio-educational centres across Africa – helping develop talented youngsters through local training programmes. Sandro Rosell, president of FC Barcelona, said: “We thank the International Olympic Committee and its president, Jacques Rogge, for the confidence they have shown in the FC Barcelona Foundation to carry out this project. It is a great source of pride for our club to contribute to the promotion of the values of sport amongst youth in Africa, as we have been doing in many regions in our own country.”

While the IOC will cover most of the operational costs for the 2013 Olympafrica programme, the FFCB’s existing educational structure, FutbolNet, will now be used to improve and diversify the activities on offer. Each Olympafrica centre will be provided with all the materials related to the FutbolNet programme, as well as varying sports equipment. The 2013 programme will see 26 local football tournaments for 12 to 15-year-olds held at Olympafrica centres in 23 different African countries – with each tournament expected to attract 3,000 youngsters. In May, a regional tournament will be held in Burundi, with teams from four neighbouring centres invited to take part.

“Sport is a powerful tool for reaching out to today’s youth on all continents,” said Rogge. “We aim to bring sport and its inherent values to all fields of society. Through this partnership with the FFCB, we will provide young people and communities in a multitude of African countries with the opportunity to practise sport, to be empowered and to further their human development.”