Futsal focus in Stratford

PUBLISHED: 09:06 22 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 Champions League Festival showcases smaller format

The UEFA Champions Festival will be showcasing futsal at Stratford’s Olympic Park on Friday (May 24) as hundreds of youngsters join together for an action-packed weekend of football celebration.

It will take place on The International Quarter close to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and, 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.

Actors James and Oliver Phelps, who starred in the Harry Potter films as Fred and George Weasley, will be taking part in the futsal tournament on Friday.

They will also be accepting a cheque donation from UEFA on behalf of Teenage Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to supporting.

Teenage Cancer Trust is the English FA’s official charity in their 150th anniversary charity year and UEFA’s donation forms part of its ongoing football social responsibility work.

Teenage Cancer Trust will also have an education stand at the UEFA Champions Festival with experienced staff on hand to offer advice and provide information about the charity’s work.

Oliver Phelps said: “We are really excited to get our boots on and play futsal at the UEFA Champions Festival and meet the football fans coming down to watch and take part in the celebrations.

“It’s really great to be representing Teenage Cancer Trust and the fantastic work they do.”

The UEFA Champions Festival will be the first major event since last summer to come to the home of the 2012 London Olympics and will celebrate women’s football, futsal and grassroots football.

Barcelona’s Dani Alves started in futsal and said: “I think that normally if somebody is successful in futsal, they can be successful in football as well, because you find yourself with more free space, you have more possibilities and your mind works better.”

Bebeto, a former world champion for Brazil, added: “I started my career playing futsal and you learn agility, ability, acceleration.

“It gives you a great skill base, a better acceleration, in the tight spaces. In Brazil we always start with futsal before going on to the pitch.”

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

UEFA Champions Festival opening times: May 23 (12-9pm); May 24 (12-9pm); May 25 (9am-6pm); May 26 (12-6pm).

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