Football fans and players of all ages are feeling the benefits of UEFA’s HatTrick assistance programme in Belarus, with two projects in particular reaping rewards.
The Nadezhda Cup is a tournament organised to bring together children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, with youngsters coming from nine rehabilitation centres from across the country to take part in a four-day event.
On the impact of UEFA’s help towards the event, Belarus Football Federation (BFF) General Secretary Sergei Safaryan said: “There were large expenses involved in transporting the children so bringing together our funds and the money from UEFA comfortably helped us avoid having to require the teams participating in the tournament to take the financial responsibility upon themselves, thereby giving the kids a footballing celebration.”
The Nadezhda Cup was one of two BFF projects to be acknowledged with UEFA HatTrick Awards in 2015. The second of these was Internet-TV, a unique development that has given people the chance to watch as many as eight games from the Belarus Premier League, as well as some second tier games, live each week for free on the national association’s website.
BFF IT manager Dmitry Vasilchenko explained: “We had the idea for Internet-TV for a long time. It was linked to the notion that, as the Belarusian Football Federation and fans, we wanted to see all of the matches in the national championship. Television broadcasters couldn’t afford to show them all because of technological, economic and other reasons. Therefore, federation representatives set themselves the task of creating an alternative way of showing matches. In other words, setting up online broadcasting of league matches.”
Now in its 13th year, the HatTrick programme has been a resounding success in helping the development of football around Europe, distributing funds taken from revenue from the UEFA European Football Championship. Aside from the projects already mentioned, in Belarus funding has also helped to build mini-pitches and the Belarus Football Federation’s Technical Centre.