The tournament held at Wakefield Park, is a free fun family day with games scheduled across this weekend.
The tournament has been built on a successful partnership between NZ Police and Multicultural New Zealand. This year, the event has gained a new supporter with the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 which has meant that the FIFA U-20 World Cup winner's trophy will be on display across the weekend starting with the Youth Forum this afternoon.
Wellington Phoenix players, Andrew Durante, Vince Lia and Kenny Cunningham, will also be in attendance at the Youth Forum, joining young people from the region at Bishop Viard College in Porirua in a skills clinic.
The New Zealand Communities Football Cup will see 11 men’s teams and 9 women’s teams participating, each team representing a different ethnic community. The tournament is a culmination of more than 1000 games over the year and over 250 community teams from around the country to decide who would compete as a finalist this weekend. A New Zealand Police men's and women's team will also be competing.
New Zealand Police National Strategic Ethnic Advisor, Inspector Rakesh Naidoo, is encouraging Wellingtonians’ to come out and support the tournament. “The tournament presents an ideal platform for all our communities to come together and positively interact through their love of football. As our country has become more diverse, opportunities like this are important so that communities can learn about one another, break down barriers and overcome perceptions. Of course there will also be a great amount of fantastic soccer skills on show,” says Mr Naidoo.
Each year sees the popularity of the contest grow with increasing numbers of participants and supporters keen to be involved. This year, teams from Burundi, Poland and Brazil communities will travel from Auckland, Christchurch and Tauranga. Wellington is represented by teams from Somalia and Colombia with NZ Police also entering a local based team.
Included in the Football Cup this year is a showcase tournament of nine Women’s 5-a-side competition teams with representatives from Colombia, Assyria and Ethiopia.
The tournament kicks off this Saturday at 9am, with Wellington City Councillor Paul Eagle and Deputy Chief Executive NZ Police, Superintendent Wallace Haumaha opening the event. Wellington's Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will be officiating at the afternoon prize giving on Sunday.
“Wellington City Council is proud to support this event and the use of football as an enabler of inclusion. Having the FIFA U-20 World Cup Trophy present, will provide inspiration for players and supporters alike,” said Mayor Wade-Brown.
Sport and recreation portfolio leader City councillor Paul Eagle says, “Wellington is a diverse and welcoming city that is proud to be called home by people from all cultures. Events like the Communities Football Cup are a great way to celebrate the kaleidoscope of cultures that make Wellington a wonderful city to live in.”
The tournament also supports the White Ribbon campaign to end men’s violence towards women and all players will be taking the White Ribbon pledge at the opening ceremony.