The inaugural UNITY Cup London took place on the 2nd anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, to show a united front against violence and extremism. 23 teams, from London’s diverse communities, came together to celebrate their cultural differences under the unifying banner of football.
The one-day tournament took place at the Westway Sport Centre in west London and was sponsored by Sven Goran Ericsson (the former England Head Coach) and launched by Nancy Dell’Olio and FC Unity’s Founder Yamam Nabeel.
The Peace Ball (the original match ball of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Quarter Final game between England and Brazil, and signed by both sets of players) made it’s first appearance at an FC Unity event, which caused a lot of excitement.
There were teams representing various communities of London, including the Somali, Iraqi, Ghanian, Iranian, Pakistani, Indian, Bengali and Romany gipsy to mention a few, as well as teams from Kids Company and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The event was also endorsed by the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
In total there were 33 nationalities represented by the 23 teams, with the Iranian community team, Arian FC, becoming the first winners of the UNITY Cup London.