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IOC and FC Barcelona Foundation join forces

IOC President Jacques Rogge and Sandro Rosell, President of FC Barcelona, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. The signing marks the beginning of an official partnership between the IOC and the Foundation of one of the most successful football clubs in Europe, supporting the setting up of joint projects that promote development through sport.

IOC and FC Barcelona Foundation join forces

©IOC/Arnaud Meylan

Both the IOC and the FC Barcelona Foundation (FFCB) use sport as a vector for social and human development as well as a tool for educating and promoting the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship. By joining forces, the two organisations aim to benefit from each others' experiences and to maximise the reach of their activities.

Joining forces for Olympafrica

As part of this cooperation agreement, the IOC and FFCB have committed themselves to further developing the existing football programme within the Olympafrica centres, which are sports centres throughout Africa, set up by the Olympafrica Foundation with the support of the IOC and owned by the National Olympic Committees. Covering the major part of the operational costs of the 2013 programme, the IOC will support the Olympafrica Foundation with the organisation of 26 local football tournaments for young people aged from 12 to 15 from Olympafrica centres in 23 different African countries. Each tournament is expected to attract around 3,000 young participants. A regional tournament will also be held in Burundi in May, with the participation of invited teams from four neighbouring centres.

While this football programme has existed since 2006 in order to boost and diversify the activities on offer at the Olympafrica centres, it will now run using the FFCB's existing educational programme "FutbolNet ", which associates the practice of football with the transmission of values. Each selected centre will then be provided by the FFCB with all the necessary material related to the FutbolNet programme as well as sports equipment, including bibs and balls.

"Sport is a powerful tool for reaching out to today's youth on all continents", said President Rogge. "We aim to bring sport and its inherent values to all fields of society. Through this partnership with the FFCB, we will provide young people and communities in a multitude of African countries with the opportunity to practise sport, to be empowered and to further their human development. I would like to thank the FC Barcelona Foundation for their support and for sharing their valuable experience in this field."

Sandro Rosell, President of FC Barcelona, said: "We thank the International Olympic Committee and its President, Jacques Rogge, for the confidence they have shown in the FC Barcelona Foundation to carry out this project. It is a great source of pride for our club to contribute to the promotion of the values of sport amongst youth in Africa, as we have been doing in many regions in our own country."

Development through sport in Africa

Olympafrica, which was initiated by the IOC, aims to further social development through sport and promote the creation of small-scale sports and socio-educational centres in African countries in order to encourage and assist the development of talented youngsters through local training programmes. The idea for such an initiative was first launched in 1988 to enable developing countries to benefit fully from the positive repercussions of the Olympic Movement. Today, the Olympafrica programme offers a wide-range of sporting, social and educational activities for local young people and communities in 37 centres across 33 different African countries.