FIFA and Beach Soccer Worldwide team up to help everyone ‘Be Active’

The Beach Soccer Foundation and FIFA welcomed over 50 local children and young adults to beach soccer clinics in Dubai

  • Organisers worked alongside two renowned disability charities to provide an interactive, healthy, and educational experience
  • As part of FIFA’s Be Active campaign, which promotes exercise for all, participants joined in with beach soccer training sessions and a #BringTheMoves dance

FIFA and the Beach Soccer Foundation were joined by a host of star names from the Beach Soccer community to welcome two groups of people living with disabilities to a fun-filled two days of activities at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2024 Dubai™.

Arranged with the help of local charity Al Noor and the Special Olympics UAE, the beach soccer ‘clinics’ welcomed more than 50 children and young adults to the tournament stadium in Dubai. Participants were given the opportunity to take part in training sessions, interactive drills, and a practice match on the same sand on which the best beach soccer players in the world are competing to be crowned world champions on 25 February.

The activities formed part of FIFA’s ‘Be Active’ campaign, which is run in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), and encourages people of all ages to exercise regularly. According to WHO, 80% of children globally are not getting enough exercise, and recommend that all children are active for a minimum of 60 minutes a day. With that in mind, participants enjoyed getting active in a different way: by bringing their dance moves to the iconic campaign anthem in line with FIFA’s #BringTheMoves campaign.

The opening day involved young people who attend the Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities, a local charity that provides care, rehabilitation, recreation, and vocational training to people living with disabilities between the ages of 4 to 35.

“At Al Noor, we promote inclusion for People of Determination, meaning social, economic and educational inclusions for people with disabilities, in all sectors so it was a great pleasure to support and participate in the Beach Soccer clinic,” said Ranjini Ramnath, Director at Al Noor Rehabilitation & Welfare Association for People of Determination/ ABA and Parent and Child Training Programme Department Coordinator.

“For those who can benefit, physical activity can help to maintain health and well-being, as well as improve mental health. It can also support daily living activities and independence. We would like to thank Beach Soccer Worldwide and FIFA for delivering just one of the many opportunities for disabled people to be active.”

On the second day, participants joined from the Special Olympics, the global movement that gives opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities to be part of the sports world and its achievements.

Fatma Al Musallami, Special Olympics UAE Director of Strategy & Projects, said: “We are very happy to be here with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai. It was a great opportunity to organise the workshop and the clinic here with the great FIFA team.”

She continued: “Football is something that changes people’s lives. If someone says, ‘It is just a game’ – no, it is not just a game. We all saw the other games, and we all saw these games here in Dubai today and over the past few days. It unites people; it brings the spirit of happiness down on people, and it brings people together. It brings happiness.”

As well as having the opportunity to play, dance and learn, participants were also joined by some high-profile guests from the beach soccer community. Portugal’s two-time FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup winner Madjer, former Spain star Ramiro Amarelle, and Belarus national team player Yauheni Novikau showed their skills, while Victor Vasques, head coach of the United Arab Emirates beach soccer national team, and Angelo Schirinzi, Tahiti beach soccer national team assistant coach, were also there to pass on some of their expertise.

“It’s wonderful,” said Madjer. “Sometimes we give so much importance to small things, and these things are the really important things we need to do as ambassadors. We need to give quality time to these kids. It’s wonderful for us as well, it’s a lesson.”

On the Be Active initiative, he encouraged everyone to get moving, explaining that even small amounts of exercise can make a big difference. “It’s good for brain health and also physically,” he added. “When we say we don’t have time to do exercise, everybody has time to do exercise.”

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