Saturday 19 August 2023, 08:30

Beyond Greatness™ Community Football Tournament donates $100,000 AUD to charity

  • A mix of FIFA Legends and local female footballers took part in a 4-team tournament

  • The FIFA Unity Pitch played host the teams on the forecourt of the iconic Sydney Opera House

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed that two charities – one in Australia, and one in Aotearoa New Zealand – will receive $50,000 AUD each

The Beyond Greatness™ Community Football Tournament, played on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, brought FIFA Legends together today with forty local female footballers. All for two good causes. FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed that FIFA has donated $50,000 AUD to one charity from Australia, and $50,000 AUD to one charity from Aotearoa New Zealand (total $100,000 AUD).

Players during the Beyond Greatness™ Community Football Tournament

The Australian charity is NASCA. NASCA utilises the power of structured sporting and cultural programmes to harness the educational, employment and health aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. NASCA work through culture to connect with community and country, strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples’ capacities and supporting them to realise their aspirations. The charity in Aotearoa New Zealand is BBM. BBM is run by people with lived experience in changing their mindsets and turning their lives around. BBM operate two free gyms in South Auckland and West Auckland, and a gym in Tokoroa. Their vision is to reduce obesity amongst Māori and Pacific People in Aotearoa New Zealand through education, thereby enabling them to choose a healthy and active lifestyle for the duration of their lives, their children, their wider family, and the community.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino with BBM Motivation Founder David Letele and NASCA Director Chloe Wighton during the Beyond Greatness™ Community Football Tournament

FIFA and Football Australia invited four local teams to highlight football’s power to bring joy, peace, hope, love, and passion to communities on the popular Unity Pitch at one of the world’s most iconic landmarks, with members of the public invited to attend for free. Two New South Wales State Indigenous Representative U16 teams played a round-robin competition with teams from Kissing Point FC and Hurlstone Park Wanderers FC, who have both achieved Football Australia Club Changer 1 Star Status, demonstrating their commitment to the development of women’s and girls’ football. Lee Rochester was of the coaches involved today. “This is an awesome experience for our girls today. They have been playing for many years, and they are so excited to be here, and feel part of the FIFA (Women’s) World Cup,” he said.

Maia Jackman in action during the Beyond Greatness™ Community Football Tournament

“In tournaments like this, their friends will see them play today, and they’ll want to play. It encourages them, it’s a positive experience, it’s a lot of fun. The girls in our team, they love playing football, love having fun and they keep coming back because of that.”

FIFA Legends participating included Patrizia Panico (ITA), Maia Jackman (NZL), Aya Miyama (JPN), Mana Iwabuchi (JPN), and Alex Scott (ENG). Adding even more stardust were Formiga (BRA), Laura Georges (FRA), Fara Williams (ENG), and Kelly Smith (ENG). Supporting from the side lines were both FIFA President Gianni Infantino and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, as well as FIFA’s Chief Women’s Football Officer, Sarai Bareman. FIFA Legends Juan Pablo Sorin and Tim Cahill presented the medals and trophy at the end of the tournament, while Ian Wright, Ryan Nelsen, and Kevin-Prince Boateng also took in the games.

Tanja Iurlo watched her daughter take part in the tournament, who was playing in goal. “This World Cup has been awesome. For the Matildas to make it so far, will definitely encourage our girls to get out there and play and be like them” she said. Fans in attendance in Sydney/Gadigal were then invited to make the short journey to the FIFA Fan Festival™️ at Tumbalong Park to take in the third-place match between Sweden and Australia, with bronze medals at stake for the winners in Brisbane/Meaanjin.