Leyton Orient wins the Mallorca Walking Football tournament
Leyton Orient F.C., NAC Breda, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord Rotterdam sent their teams to a Walking Football tournament on Mallorca. Not only the 55+ but also the 60+ team of Leyton Orient F.C. made it into the finals.
The Mallorca Walking Football tournament was held over three days, Friday 11th to Sunday 13th May with the Saturday off as a rest day. There were two Walking football competitions, the Walking Football 55+ and the Walking Football 60+. Leyton Orient, for example, participated with two teams in the Walking Football 55+ competition and with one in the Walking Football 60+. Some players were more than 240 minutes on the pitch. The tournament used the European rules, so there were no goalkeepers and the goals were only 1.5 metres wide and 0.75 metres tall.
Opening ceremony and national anthems
The Thursday evening before the start of the tournament on Friday saw a World Cup-style opening ceremony with teams parading into the main stadium. This set the tone for an extremely well-organised tournament which was at all times run to maximise the enjoyment of the event for the footballing participants.
Of course, the players did not only wanted to participate, but also wanted to win one of the trophies. One team of Leyton Orient played the final of the 60+ tournament against the NAC Breda Oldstars from the Netherlands. The teams were led onto the pitch in the mini stadium with music playing, flags flying and spectators cheering. The teams lined up on either side of the referees while the national anthems were played, followed by the traditional handshakes. After the kick-off, both teams couldn’t score a goal. In the end, Leyton Orient won the cup by 3-2 in penalties. In the following final of the 55+ competition, some players of Leyton Orient had to play again. This time they didn’t leave the pitch as winners: Hallam won the second trophy by winning 4-o.
Once all the finals were over, there was a big award ceremony and first up were the Walking Football 60+ teams, with the second place for NAC Breda and as happy winner Leyton Orient. At the expense of the 55+ Leyton Orient team, Hallam won the final of the 55+ competition. The winners presented the trophy supported by music, confetti and a cheering crowd.
Walking Football and EFDN
A great number of EFDN-members have started their own Walking Football teams. Walking Football reaches people of 50 years and older that until recently were out of reach for grassroots sports clubs and sport based community organisations. Through the European Legends Programme, EFDN supports clubs with the development of their own Walking Football teams by providing training materials and best practice examples. More information can also be found on the European Legends website.