Recap of the 4th and Final Walking Football Tournament in Madrid
On Thursday the 21st of September, the final chapter of the EFDN Walking Football League tournament in Madrid, co-organised with Fundación Getafe at the Royal Football Federation of Madrid, was a bittersweet affair. It marked the end of an era, celebrated a historic first, and showcased the beautiful spirit of Walking Football.
16 Teams, 8 Nations United in Diversity
16 teams from 8 countries (Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Portugal, Hungary, and Norway) participated in the final edition.
- Spain was represented by Fundación Getafe and Real Betis Fundación.
- Great Britain, the birthplace of this sport, competed with five teams, two from England (Newcastle United Foundation and Foundation 92) and three from Scotland (Rangers Charity Foundation, Motherwell FC Community Trust, and Morton in the Community)
- Germany (Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Schalke 04, which participated with two teams).
- The Netherlands, Norway, Hungary and Portugal were represented with one team each (Excelsior Rotterdam, Vålerenga, Ferencvaros and Fundacao Benfica).
Newcastle United Foundation’s Historic Move
One of the most remarkable moments of this year’s tournament was the participation of a full women’s team from Newcastle United Foundation. This groundbreaking move was a testament to the growing inclusivity of walking football and its reach beyond traditional boundaries. The Newcastle United women’s team showcased their talent and passion, proving that walking football is a game for everyone. Their presence was a celebration of diversity in the sport.
The Fair Play award, a coveted recognition of sportsmanship, found its deserving home with the Newcastle United Foundation women’s team. Throughout the tournament, they displayed remarkable behavior on the pitch, playing with integrity, respect, and a true love for the game.
The Thrilling Final Game: Fundacao Benfica vs. Bayer Leverkusen
The pinnacle of the tournament was the final showdown between Fundacao Benfica and Bayer Leverkusen, streamed live on YouTube for fans around the world to witness. The clash was nothing short of a footballing spectacle. Tension filled the air as both teams gave their all in pursuit of glory. The match ended in a dramatic penalty shootout, with Benfica ultimately emerging victorious.
Schalke 04: The Unveiling of the Overall European Champions
While Benfica claimed the title in the final game, the ultimate glory of being crowned the overall champions of the EFDN Walking Football League tournament belonged to Schalke 04. Their consistent performance across the four tournaments showcased their skill, teamwork, and determination. They emerged as the team to beat, reinforcing their reputation as a powerhouse in the world of walking football. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
Here below is the overall standing after the 4 tournaments in Breda, Leverkusen, Newcastle and Madrid:
1st – Schalke 04 – 67 points
2nd – Fundacao Benfica – 57 points
3rd – Bayer 04 Leverkusen – 50 points
4th – Real Betis Fundación – 48 points
5th – Newcastle United Foundation – 37 points
6th – Ferencvaros – 32 points
6th – Athletic Bilbao – 32 points
7th – Greenock Morton – 28 points
8th – Motherwell – 27 points
9th – Rangers Charity Foundation – 24 points
10th – Dortmund – 21 points
11th – Vålerenga – 17 points
11th – Club Brugge – 17 points
12th – Eintracht Frankfurt – 15 points
12th – Excelsior Rotterdam – 15 points
13th – Foundation 92 – 14 points
14th – Walking Football Scotland – Glasgow Life – 10 points
14th – ADO Den Haag – 10 points
15th – NAC Breda – 9 points
15th – Fundación Getafe – 9 points
16th – Chelsea FC – 7 points
17nd – PSV Eindhoven – 5 points
18th – Bohemian FC – 4 points
19th – Burnley FC – 1 point
Perfect Closing of the Tournament
After the tournament, Getafe kindly invited all participants and staff members to visit their stadium, Coliseum Alfonso Peréz, where they had the opportunity to take pictures altogether.
The evening ended in a festive fashion with a delicious dinner at the Gran Hotel Los Angeles with delicious traditional food and beverages as well as songs from each country represented at the tournament.
The End of an Era
As the final whistle blew in Madrid, it also marked the conclusion of an era for the EFDN Walking Football League tournament. The tournament had not only grown in stature but had become a symbol of unity, sportsmanship, and inclusivity. It had brought together teams from various corners of Europe, transcending borders and barriers. While the final edition of this tournament was an emotional farewell, it also paved the way for new horizons and opportunities in the world of walking football.
On behalf of EFDN, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Fundación Getafe, especially to Nerea Alonso as well as Angela Macias Valle, for co-organising this incredible event, and all the teams that have taken part in our Walking Football tournaments. Whether you participated in just one or two, three, or all four of our tournaments, your presence and enthusiasm have made these events truly special. We also want to thank António, David, Nuno, Paulo, and Ricardo from Masterfoot as well as Jose Maria from Real Betis Fundación for being the referees of this last tournament.
We appreciate your dedication to Walking Football and your commitment to promoting the values of inclusion and camaraderie through the beautiful game. It’s through your participation that we are able to create meaningful experiences for all involved.
We look forward to welcoming you back at future EFDN events. To stay updated on our activities and upcoming events, please visit our website at efdn.org and consider subscribing to our newsletter.
Always remember, together we are more than just football; we are a community united by the love of the game and the values it represents.
Thank you once again for being a part of the EFDN family. We can’t wait to see you on the pitch again soon.
Watch the Replay of the Final Games!
Access to more pictures here.
WALKING FOOTBALL LEAGUE PROJECT
The European Walking Football League is a tournament, initiated by EFDN and Partners that brings community-engaged football clubs in order to deliver a program that increases physical activity levels and improves social cohesion and inclusion for people aged 50 and more. In addition, the Walking Football League gives an opportunity to players to lead a physical and socially-active lifestyle in their European communities. One of the main goals of this project is to further develop Walking Football as a sustainable sport in Europe and raise the profile of the game.
- Vålerenga Fotball (Olso, Norway)
- Ferencvárosi Torna Club (Budapest, Hungary)
- Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Leverkusen, Germany)
- Rangers Charity Foundation (Glasgow, UK)
- Fundação Benfica (Lisbon, Portugal)
- Real Betis Balompié Foundation (Seville, Spain)
- FC Schalke 04 (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)
- Morton in the Community (Greenock, UK)
- Newcastle United Foundation (Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK)