The Association of Bulgarian Fan Clubs of Foreign Teams in Bulgaria has held a football tournament in Sofia to support local deaf and hard of hearing children and their parents.
The event – the eighth tournament hosted by the Association – was held in partnership with the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) as well as Sport Sofia 2000 EAD, Sofia Municipality, VTA Security Service and the Comet Children’s Football Academy. It received organisational and financial support from the BFU, as part of its Fan Dialogue 2020 and Beyond project.
A total of 16 teams took part in the tournament, representing the foreign club sides they support and it was won by a team of Chelsea supporters.
The trophy was presented by the Bulgarian Minister of Youth and Sport, Krasen Kralev, who said, “Football is a phenomenon because it brings together many people for many important causes. It is very pleasant to you see fans of various foreign teams embracing the idea of charity and helping deaf and hard of hearing children. The tournament has a future and can be developed in the coming years. Such noble initiatives should be encouraged by the municipalities and the government”.
The Bulgarian national team donated a signed shirt to be auctioned with other items at the tournament. Bulgarian international defender Vasil Bozhikov said, “We hope the shirt will be sold at as high as possible price to help this noble cause. When there is a need, we as players will be there”. Some €7000 was raised by the auction.
Various Bulgarian news channels positively presented the event and the BFU as well as the Ministry of Sport published detailed articles on their websites. SD Europe and UEFA FSR partners CAFE also welcomed the initiative.
The Bulgarian Fan Dialogue: 2020 and beyond project, jointly prepared by the BFU and SD Europe, is funded by UEFA’s HatTrick IV programme. Its primary goal is to consolidate the SLO role at club and national team level in an effort to improve the football experience for Bulgarian supporters.
It is also expected to bridge the gap between the BFU and supporters and address the issues of governance and sustainability of Bulgarian football. As well as supporting SD Europe’s work in Bulgaria, the Fan Dialogue project also brings closer to the BFU more UEFA FSR partners such as CAFE and FARE. The project’s objectives will be achieved by June 2020 through a series of activities, meetings and exchange visits at supporter, club and BFU level.
If you’re interested to see how SD Europe might be able to support your organisation or would like further details about this initiative, get in touch with the SDE team.