Aleksander Čeferin, Luis Figo, Darijo Srna, Johannes Hahn, Boban, Mijatović, Malouda, Maxwell Andrade, Hierro, Davor Božinović took part in the big ceremony of the 25th anniversary of the Plazma Youth Sports Games.
The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Plazma Youth Sports Games, on Friday in Split, brought together many world sports stars and officials who came to congratulate the largest amateur sports event in Europe on such a great jubilee.
The program began with a ceremony at the Croatian Home in Split, which brought together longtime partners, friends and ambassadors of the Games.
The world sports stars were led by Luis Figo, who arrived with Darijo Srna, Zvonimir Boban, Maxwell Andrade, Hierro, Malouda, and Predrag Mijatović.
Special awards for long-term support and cooperation were given to Zoran Mamić, President of the Supervisory Board of Tommy d.o.o., Zoran Bogdanović, Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola HBC on behalf of the Coca-Cola partner of the ceremony, Predrag Mijatović, Ambassador of Plazma Youth Sports Games, Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration for Ambassador of the Year 2020 and Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA President for Ambassador of the Year 2021.
''Sport connects, sport is love, sport is unique, sport earns the respect of all people, so a deep tribute to everything that Plazma Youth Sports Games do. As long as I am the president of UEFA and the UEFA Children's Foundation, I will fully support the work of the Games to the best of my ability'' said Mr. Čeferin in his acceptance speech.
The guests were greeted by Ivica Puljak, Mayor of Split, Davor Božinović, vice president of the Croatian Government and Minister of Interior. Members of the Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with the Plazma Youth Sports Games, have been conducting a large educational campaign which aims to prevent violence on sports fields.
"Youth Sports Games have given a new dimension to sports in Croatia. In these challenging times, it is important to deal with children and separate them as much as possible from mobile phones and computers so that they fully accept healthy lifestyles ", said Davor Božinović.
In his emotional speech, Zdravko Marić, President of Plazma Youth Sports Games, thanked all those who contributed to the success of the Games and pointed out:. ''We have been promoting tolerance, friendship, solidarity and fair play for a quarter of a century and we hope that in these 25 years we have managed to incorporate these values into many generations of our children and youth in Croatia and the region. "
Zlatko Dalić, Head coach of the Croatian national football Team Stipe Pletikosa, former goalkepper and Marijan Kustić, president of the Croatian national Football association also attended the Ceremony. Plazma Youth Spots Games are involved in the project The Youth Sports Fair Chance, project which fights against violence, racism, discrimination and intolerance in sports. Project is co-financed from the Erasmus + program of the European Union, and the total value of the project is 365,525.00 euros. The project was also presented at the ceremony at the Croatian Home.
After the festive program, the guests hurried to change into football jerseys because teh Republic Square-Prokurative in the oldest part of Split became the scene of a football spectacle at 8 pm. In the football match played young participants of the international finals of the Plazma Youth Sports Games from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina against world sports stars and friends of the Games lead with UEFA representatives: Aleksander Čeferin – President, Zvonimir Boban - Chief of Football, Luis Figo - Football Advisor ,Florent Malouda - Ambassador , Maxwell Scherrer - Chief of Football, and Fernando Hierro, former Real Madrid player, Darijo Srna and Mario Stanić, former Croatian national team players and others.
Tihomir Gudić, executive director of Plazma Youth Sports Games, celebrated football player Igor Tudor and Igor Angelovski were coaches of young athletes. The star team was led by coaches: Zdravko Marić, President of Youth Sports Games, Martina Dalić, Podravka CEO and Davor Božinović, Croatian government Vice president.
Fulfilling the dream of playing with their Idols was the biggest reward for excited little football players who seriously impressed Figo, Srna, Boban and other stars. Justice on the ground was shared by Robert Rosetti, UEFA Chief Referring Officer. The great atmosphere was heated up by the victory of young athletes against world stars. The match was broadcasted live forthe citizens of Split and guests of the city in the Fan zone on the Riva, with an additional programme.
The closing ceremony was held on the Riva, where Aleksander Čeferin, Predrag Mijatović and Johannes Hahn presented awards to young ambassadors Plazma Youth Sports Games from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The young athletes and guests were greeted by Ivica Puljak, Mayor of Split, Tomislav Družak, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and envoy Nikola Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, Zdravko Marić and Davor Božinović, Deputy Prime Minister who closed the 25th season of the Games. Before the celebration cake, congratulations were sent via video link by many athletes: Luka Modrić, Goran Ivanišević, Slaven Bilić, Edin Džeko, Dragan Stojković Piksi and many others.
The beautiful night in Split ended with a big fireworks and a concert by Sergej Ćetković.
Plazma Youth Sports Games are the largest amateur sports event in Europe and in its 25 years of existence have gathered more than 2 million children and young people. Every year from January to August they organize sports competitions in 10 sports (Tommy tournament in indoor soccer 2009, Coca-Cola Cup in football, HEP handball tournament, Croatian Post Cup tennis tournament, Kinder tournament in street basketball, beach volleyball, volleyball , chess under the auspices of FIDE, table tennis, border guard and 60m race) and sports-educational events Telemach Sports Day.