Vector Sport project management team visited the international football tournament in Imatra that happened on June 28-30.06.2019! This Ukoniemi football tournament was organized as a celebration of a new football pitch opening in Imatra and gathered the strongest teams from Finland and Russia! Among participating football teams were boys form HJK, LAUTP, PK-35, IPS/PEPPO , Lahti United! Russian teams were represented by FC Zenit Academy and FC Almaz -Antey from Saint-Petersburg. This elite teams were age categories of 2008 and 2009 born boys, the game time was 2×20 min. each, 8vs 8 players on the pitch. The competitive level of the tournament appeared to be very high and till the very final it was hard to define who would be the winner! As a result of tough competition that was happening in a spirit of fair play and respect to its opponents , FC Almaz-Antey boys of 2008 and 2009 years old won both finals against FC Zenit Academy and brought the trophy to Saint-Petersburg!
This football tournament can be viewed as a sustainable case of cross -border cooperation in sport tourism direction that brought together various stakeholders from sport and publics organizations, regional sport federations and clubs, city municipalities and local business! On the level of local business, there was active collaboration with Russian SMEs that operate in the area of sport and tourism that were particularly in charge of Russian delegation and group pf tourists, specially coming to this event! Thus, the accommodation partner was Imatra Kulpuly that hosted Russian team and tourist groups that came to this event! The excellent hosting conditions and new sport facilities raised very high interest among Russian delegation that started to seriously consider that area for arranging professional football camps and tournaments for their youth and professional football teams!
The organizers of Ukoniemi football tournament arranged the football workshop for the representatives of all the participating teams in a form of round table discussion of potentials and possibilities of joint sport and tourism projects between Russia and Finland! The participants discussed the peculiarities of the development of football in their counties and the global trends that drive the game at present day. The common language of football allowed easily to establish friendly and positive relations that hopefully could be further developed into cross-border sustainable cooperation!