MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO SUNDAY ASTRO

Many congratulations to Sunday Astro, winners of this year's SARI Soccerfest Cup.

Over 2,000 people joined members of Ireland's migrant community in the Phoenix Park, Dublin to celebrate the 22nd Annual Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) Soccerfest which took place in partnership with the European Week of Sport.

The European Week of Sport is an initiative of the European Commission which aims to promote sport and health enhancing physical activity for everyone regardless of age, background or fitness level. Sport Ireland is the national co-ordinator for the European Week of Sport in Ireland and there will be over 400  sport and physical activity events taking place during the week.

This is the 22nd year of Soccerfest and organisers estimate that since SARI Soccerfest was first held in 1997, over 7,000 people have participated in the tournament while a further 8,000 have travelled from migrant and minority communities across the country to enjoy the entertainment and events that take place alongside the tournament. This year 36 teams featuring players from over 60 nationalities participated in the competition including a team from Ireland's Rohingya community based in Carlow and four teams from Direct Provision Centres .

 The SARI Cup was won by Sunday Astro representing the Nigerian community in Tallaght. The SARI Plate was won by OUR lads a mix of Hong Kong Chinese, Vietnamese and Dubliners. The Women's Cup was won by Football People representing SARI's Hijabs and Hat-tricks programme.

SARI Director and former Ireland football manager Brian Kerr said "Today is a very special day for us in SARI. We are especially proud that we are now marking 22 years of this fantastic sporting and cultural event.  This event is a unique mix of top quality football, fun and free events and in the past 22 years it has been a space for Ireland's migrant communities to take another step forward in the path to integration.

"Every year SARI invites people from Direct Provision Centres and refugee communities across Ireland to the Phoenix Park for Soccerfest organising transport and meals for players, family and friends.  It's a great opportunity to enjoy a day out at the Phoenix Park and meet people from all over Ireland - and all over the world.

SARI is very grateful for all the support and help we have received over the years to make Soccerfest possible.  I am especially delighted to see that Sport Ireland has chosen SARI Soccerfest for the third year in a row as the first flagship event for the European Week of Sport."

To mark the launch of the European Week of Sport at Soccerfest this year, sports clubs from across the country were in the Garda Grounds in the Phoenix Park to showcase their sports including GAA Rounders, Table Tennis, Cricket, Volleyball, Tug-of-War and a Climbing Wall. Demonstrations of each sport took place throughout the day and visitors were encouraged to try a new sport or activity.

Sport Ireland Director of Participation, Dr Una May, said "Sport Ireland is delighted to be part of SARI Soccerfest once more through the European Week of Sport initiative. SARI's Soccerfest plays an important role in opening pathways to participation in sport for Ireland's migrant communities and one of the key strategic objectives of Sport Ireland is increasing participation in sport and physical activity for all and we are determined to get as many people active as possible. Today it is absolutely inspiring to see so many people willing to embrace new sports and activities so wholeheartedly."

A full listing of events scheduled for the European week of Sport is available on the Sport Ireland website www.sportireland.ie and everyone is encouraged and invited to get involved and participate in their local events.

SARI, which was founded in 1997, uses the power of sport to challenge discrimination, , promote cultural integration and drive social inclusion throughout Ireland

Sport Ireland is the national co-ordinator for the European Week of Sport in Ireland which aims to promote sport and physical activity across Europe. Over three hundred sport and physical activity events will take place across Ireland from 23rd - 30th September.

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