Last weekend the open football tournament among youth teams of Donetsk and Luhansk regions devoted to peace was held on in “The Pearl of Donechchina”, sanatorium-health complex for kids in Svyatogirsk, Donetsk region. The organizers of the tournament were Restoring Donbas Initiative, Football Federation of Donetsk region and Department of sports, family and youth of Donetsk Regional State Administration.
Donbas has always been famous for its football traditions. Unfortunately, the war worsened our football life in our region, we become available of our favourite stadium – Donbas Arena. But nevertheless Donbas needs football. That’s the reason of our tournament today. We did it for peace. We did it to unite Donbas. I really hope that kids’ diplomacy will do more than politics can do, – said Elena Petryaeva, the Head of Restoring Donbas Initiative.
The tournament participants were eight teams in two age categories: boys born in 2004 and in 2002. Two groups represented two regions: Donetsk region (teams from Bakhmut, Druzhkovka, Lyman, Slovyansk) and Luhansk region (Severodonetsk and Popasnaya).
The words of gratitude to the organizers of the tournament declared Tamara Lukyanchuk, the Head of Donetsk Regional State Administration Advisor. She admitted the importance of the tournament and hoped this sports event could join the kids not only from two regions but from the whole country, and could make the kids stop suffering from the war.
The winners of younger age group were the teams: 1st place went to FC “Severodonetsk” (Severodonetsk), 2nd place to FC “Druzhkivka” (Druzhkovka), 3rd place to FC “Locomotive” (Lyman). In the group of older age: 1st place went to FC UOR (Bakhmut), 2nd place to FC “Slavhleb” (Slovyansk), 3rd place to FC “Popasnaya” (Popasnaya). The rest teams that had not won any place received consolation prizes from the organizers of the tournament. The best players got personal prizes.
It’s very important for kids to understand that Donbas is Ukraine. It’s very important for adults to stop the war, to make everything possible for kids to live in peace, – said Oleksandr Dzuba, the mayor of Svyatogirsk.
After the final of tournament was a concert, after it the kids ran into the sky white balloons with the image of a phoenix – a symbol of peace and the revival of Donbas.
Our kids had not seen such a bright football tournament for quite a long time. The fact you came here and take part in the tournament meant that you are the winners. You all won the war consequences, – said Alexander Kosevich, the vice-president of the Football Federation of the Donetsk region.
Donbas: Match for peace, the football tournament, took place in Svyatogorsk on 27 and 28 May 2016.