Soccer body FIFA supports two Israeli sports programs

FIFA renewed its support for a Peres Center for Peace and Innovation program, while for the first time awarding a grant to NPO "The Equalizer."

 Children in the Peres Center's sports projects. (photo credit: EFRAT SAAR)
Children in the Peres Center's sports projects.
(photo credit: EFRAT SAAR)

The top governing body in the world of soccer decided to support two Israeli programs advancing social change through soccer sports programs.

Tami Hay Sagiv, Deputy Director General for Education at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, stated that FIFA will continue its cooperation with the Peres Center which started in 2012 and made it the first Israeli organization to receive FIFA support.

“Just two days ago, we received confirmation from FIFA that the Peres Center will continue to benefit from FIFA’s financial support for our projects for another year, this is once again proving how significant our work is. We were the first to recognize the potential in sports as a tool for education for peace and co-existence. This year our sports projects are celebrating 20 years. We are so proud of our tens of thousands of Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish and Arab graduates that came together to play football with the same uniform and in the same team. In the spirit of Shimon Peres, at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, the impossible becomes possible,” Hay Sagiv said.

The Peres Center's project began in 2002 and pairs Jewish and Arab as well as Israeli and Palestinian communities together, which then compete as one team, at the Mini Mundial.

At this tournament, fashioned after the FIFA World Cup, ambassadors from around the world, local mayors, and Israeli Premier League players come together in a day of sports, FairPlay, and peace building. 

 Children in the Peres Center's sports projects. (credit: EFRAT SAAR) Children in the Peres Center's sports projects. (credit: EFRAT SAAR)

'The Equalizer' gets FIFA grant

Non-profit "The Equalizer" is the only Israeli organization this year to be selected for a $30,000 grant supporting organizations that use football to promote the values of education and social empowerment.

Three of the organization's six programs focus on soccer. The Equalizer project sponsors football teams in schools in the Israeli periphery, including practices, tournaments, and social clubs that provide assistance in the school and teach values.

Boatot (“girls kick”), runs girl's soccer teams and integrates sports with social activities to promote female empowerment, increased self-confidence, and a comfortable body image. Finally, Special Goals, caters to special-needs teenagers and sponsors teams for youth on the autistic spectrum or with other disabilities, providing practices, tournaments, and emotional processing activities.

Special Goals, for special-needs teenagers. (credit: AVIV HAVRON)Special Goals, for special-needs teenagers. (credit: AVIV HAVRON)

Liran Jerassi, The Equalizer’s founder and executive director, reacted to the grant's announcement: “This is another moving moment in The Equalizer’s amazing history. It is always wonderful to be recognized for activity and daily work, with the accent on our coaches, tutors, and social mentors—and especially when it comes from a large and important organization like FIFA. The timing, too, during the period of our national holidays, is symbolic and exciting for us. We feel that we are the loyal representatives of the State of Israel and of Israeli society.”