Exciting week in store at Champions Festival

PUBLISHED: 09:55 19 May 2013 | UPDATED: 09:55 19 May 2013

Stratford's Olympic Park plays host to the UEFA Champions League festival

Stratford's Olympic Park plays host to the UEFA Champions League festival


UEFA reveal schedule for Olympic Park event

UEFA this week revealed the full schedule of events for the annual UEFA Champions Festival, which will take place in London next week (May 23–26).

The free four-day football celebration, featuring a series of family-friendly activities, will be the first major event to come to the home of the 2012 London Olympics since last summer, taking place on The International Quarter close to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and celebrating women’s football, futsal and grassroots football.

The festival will offer visitors an array of exciting and fun activities each day, including a variety of skills clinics and competitions, organised by UEFA and its partners. Competition winners can take part in coaching courses led by professionals throughout the week.

The first day of the festival, Thursday 23 May, will be dedicated to women’s football, with girls’ training sessions led by UEFA Women’s Champions League ambassadors, including Faye White.

England internationals Eni Aluko, Carly Telford and Hannah Blundell, together with the England women’s under-17 coach Lois Fidler, will also be at hand for training tips at girls’ grassroots matches in the afternoon.

Crowning the day, the 2013 UEFA Women’s Champions League final between VfL Wolfsburg and Olympique Lyonnais will be played at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, kicking off at 7.30pm.

On Friday 24 May the focus of the UEFA Champions Festival shifts to futsal.

Futsal is the small-sided format of football that many greats of the game played when growing up to hone their skills.

In addition to futsal tournaments for youngsters, futsal legends Ricardinho and Javi Rodríguez will be present to offer some hints and tips on the sport.

The day will also see two showpiece games when the FC Barcelona U-23 futsal team take on the England senior futsal team before a team of football legends, including Cafu, Robert Pirès, Vítor Baía and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, test their futsal skills with players from five-time English national futsal champions Helvécia Futsal London in a celebrity futsal match.

Saturday 25 May is dedicated to the UEFA Champions League at the festival, as the world builds up for the 2013 UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München at Wembley that evening.

The day includes the Ultimate Champions Match, which will see UEFA Champions League legends go head-to-head in a five-a-side game.

The final day of the festival includes dedicated grassroots games as well as a demonstration of disability football.

There will also be an unsighted penalty shoot-out which festival visitors can try out, with Dave Clarke, an unsighted footballer, and Mark Hunter, an Olympic gold medallist rower.

Following the freestyle routines held at the festival on Friday and Saturday, the world’s top 16 freestylers will battle it out in the final of the World Freestyle Championships, held at the Champions Festival on Sunday.

Festival attendees will have the chance to pose with the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Futsal Cup trophies, all displayed at the festival, as well as visit the UEFA Champions League museum to experience memories of past tournaments.

Steve McManaman, the 2013 UEFA Champions League final ambassador, said: “This year’s UEFA Champions Festival is going to be better than ever, and it is fantastic to have the event in Stratford as the area really came alive last summer for London 2012.

“The programme of events is outstanding and with the different themes and focus for every day we can be sure there is something for everyone making it a perfect family day out.”

Further to the festival activity, the ‘Kings of Europe – UEFA Icons’ exhibition showcases 160 iconic photographic images at Westfield, Stratford City, until Sunday 26 May, and entrance is free of charge.

The collection includes an exclusive, never-seen-before exhibition and images from UEFA European club competitions dating back to 1955, with European legends such as Ruud Gullit, Ryan Giggs, Sir Bobby Charlton, Eusébio, George Best and Zinédine Zidane at many iconic games.

Opening times: May 23 (12-9pm); May 24 (12-9pm); May 25 (9am-6pm); May 26 (12-6pm).

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