Global Sport Fund Football Camp Unites Middle Eastern Youth Against Drugs and Crime

VIENNA, 19 October (UN Information Service) -- Over 100 boys and girls from across the Middle East will gather in Jounieh, Lebanon, from 22 to 25 October for a unique sporting event organized by the Global Sport Fund to encourage young people to stay away from drugs and crime.

The youngsters, aged 12-15 from Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Yemen, together with Palestinian youths, will participate in the four-day football training camp featuring skills training, fair-play education and competitive matches.

The Global Sport Fund is a joint initiative between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC). The football camp in Lebanon is the first of a series of events that will take place around the world.

"Coming from some of the most troubled countries in the world, many of these youngsters have suffered adversity and severe stress," says Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC Executive Director. "Today, let boys and girls cast politics aside and score a victory in the celebration of youth and life."

With the participation of 10 boys from Iraq, 20 boys and girls from Lebanon, and 15 Palestinian boys and girls, the camp also sends a powerful message to the people of the region: while these youngsters come from different countries, they have much in common. Cooperation - working and playing together as equals - is fundamental to strengthening societies.

"Through sports and events like the Global Sport Fund football camp, we can take small steps forward for future generations", Mr. Costa said.

The football camp will be inaugurated at 2 p.m. on Monday, 22 October, at the Jounieh City Hall, by H.E. Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Secretary General of the QOC; Mr. Mohamed Al-Mulla, UNODC Regional Programme Coordinator for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries; Mr. Zaid Al-Khayyami, Director-General, Minister's Office, Lebanese Ministry of Youth and Sport; and Mr. Juan Hobeich, Mayor of Jounieh.

The camp will take place at the Fuad Shehab Sports Compound under the auspices of the Lebanese Ministry of Youth and Sport and in close cooperation with the QOC.

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