Norway Cup – One of the World’s Largest Soccer Tournaments

Norway Cup is one of the world’s largest football tournaments for youth and children, and is being held this year for the 36th time. The tournament will be taking place in Oslo from July 26 to August 1. 30 000 boys and girls from 42 countries will be playing in a total of 4 000 matches.

Norway Cup was held for the first time in 1972, where 430 teams took part. At first invitations were sent to all soccer clubs in the Nordic countries. Since then the number of countries taking part has increased enormously, and this year a new record was set – over 1500 teams have signed up. The teams come from all over the world, and this year’s newcomers are Mali, Gambia, Costa Rica and Namibia.

In 1979 the Brazilian team Pequeninos from Sao Paulo participated for the first time. The team consisted of children from the city slums, and Norway Cup was a welcome break from a tough existence. This marked the beginning of Norway Cup’s multicultural fellowship, which has become such a fundamental feature of the tournament. This year teams from 42 countries will be contributing to the multicultural mix.

Every year 20 to 30 teams from underpriverliged areas are invited by Norway Cup, which co-operates with a number of organizations on bringing the teams to Norway and providing free board and lodging.

In the 1980s Norway Cup started a development assistance project in Tanzania, in co-operation with the Soccer Association of Norway. This was one of the first sports projects to be organised in a developing country. Since then Norway Cup has become involved in several projects of this kind. For example 1 500 young people from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, are engaged in playing football and an education programme on HIV/AIDS through the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA). In the last few years Mathare has been one of the best clubs participating in Norway Cup.

Even though football is the main attraction, there are a lot of other activities as well. The tournament opens with a show featuring well-known artists. One of the evenings is devoted to festivities, and includes a match between two top international teams. Quite often professional players pay Norway Cup a visit to talk with the young participants.

Source: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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