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Last night, inside the Gozo Football Stadium at Xewkija, the fourth edition of the 2010 VIVA World Cup kicked off, this international football tournament is organised by the New Federation Board, an association of countries that are not affiliated with FIFA.
The VIVA World Cup 2010 will run until Saturday, the 5th of June, the mens teams taking part are from Padania in Iraqi Kurdistan, Provence, Occitania, Regno delle Due Sicilie and Gozo, while the women’s tournament will be between Gozo and Padania. The money generated from ticket sales for the matches in the tournament will all be donated to the Arka Foundation and the Oasi Foundation.
Last March, the football stadium was completely embellished, which included the addition of new facilities such as dressing rooms, press facilities and establishment of an office of the Malta Council for Sports. The embellishment project was supported by a contribution from The Good Causes Fund and as well as by the Ministry for Gozo who also coordinated it together with the Gozo Football Association, the Malta Council for Sport and the Malta Football Association.
Present for the opening ceremony of this tournament, was the Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono and Parliamentary Secretary Chris Said.
During her speech Minister Debono praised the initiative of the Gozo Football Association (GFA) and the New Federation Board which is organising the tournament this week in Gozo. She expressed satisfaction that Gozo is, for the first time, hosting this edition of the Viva World Cup utilising the facilities at the Gozo Stadium for international competitions.
The Minister also referred to the vision of making Gozo an ecological island and said that sport is an integral part of this vision which is aimed at guaranteeing a better life for Gozitans and all those visiting the island. She mentioned the the building of an indoor swimming pool attached to the Sports Complex in Gozo, which she said would give value added services to what the complex already offers. The Minister added that one of the targets of government is to promote sports tourism in Gozo, particularly during the quieter months of the year.
Parliamentary Secretary, Chris Said, spoke about the identity of the regions taking part in this Gozo based tournament and stressed that every island and nation, has its own distinct identity and this football competition will serve to strengthen the unique identity of these particular regions and send a message to the world that diversity is what makes our world a much more interesting place. Chris Said stressed that the game of football often served to built bridges between different peoples and cultures and augured that the VIVA World Cup will also help in this way.