UEFA vice-president Per Ravn Omdal has visited an Open Fun Football School (OFFS) in Sarajevo to gain first-hand knowledge of the work being undertaken by UEFA's charity partner.
Omdal paid a trip to the school together with colleagues from the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) and Norwegian state secretary Kim Traavik. The visit formed part of Norway's support for the Open Fun Football Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is being organised by the Danish Cross Cultures Project Association. After his visit to the Sarajevo school, Omdal, who is also NFF president, said that the Norwegian association would continue to give support to the project.
One of the youngsters participating in the school in Sarajevo was a seven-year-old suffering from diabetes. His illness normally does not allow him to play football as much as he would like, which made the school even more important. "OFFS is from now on in my heart," said the youngster, "and it will be forever because I felt like a real player today."
Earlier this month, UEFA presented a cheque for €400,000 to the Open Fun Football Schools project. The funds are drawn from fines imposed by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body in UEFA competitions during the 2002/03 season, and will be used to implement 75 Open Fun Football Schools involving 15,000 children among population groups in south-eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
Successful sixth season
Open Fun Football Schools has just completed a successful sixth season. In 1998, the project started out in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina with 12 football schools involving 2,252 boys and girls, and 189 coaches and school leaders.
This summer, Open Fun Football Schools staged a total of 78 schools involving 16,000 youngsters (13,000 boys and 3,000 girls) and 1,400 coaches and school leaders from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro. Schools were also set up for the first time in Croatia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
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