Tuesday, March 17, 2009
A SIX-A-SIDE football tournament involving British and local forces in Basra has been won by one of the home teams.
The competition was sponsored by the Premier League, which provided football strips, and the winners were the Iraqi Police Service, who played as Wigan.
They beat 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, Royal Air Force, playing as Sunderland, 2-0 in the final.
Brigadier Abdul Hussein Soud Sawadi Toama, the Commander of 52 Brigade Iraqi Army, who fielded a team, said: "We had a beautiful day away from our military jobs and we are grateful to participate in this competition."
Major General Andy Salmon, Commander of Multi-National Division (South East), said: "Everyone has got on with it together in a spirit of fun and mutual trust and co-operation which is exactly a reflection of what we have done for the last eight or nine months."
The competition, played yesterday on the Contingent Operating Base (COB), took the World Cup format with four leagues of five teams and the winners and runners up of each league going forward into the final eight for the knockout stages.
Three teams entered from the Iraqi Army and one each from the Iraqi Air Force, Police, and Department of Border Enforcement.
Teams from KBR and Turners, two civilian engineering companies employed on the COB, also entered teams.
In order to decide which team would wear which strip the organisers held a charity auction during which the teams bid for their favourite strip.
The auction raised a total of 6,115 US dollars (£4,300) for the competition's chosen charity, Project 65.
This figure was matched by the Premier League, so the donation to Project 65 was 12,230 US dollars (£8,600).
Project 65 has been created to honour the men who took part in the Coup de Main operation to capture the bridges over the Caen Canal and River Orne in the first combat operation of D-Day 65 years ago. These are known as Pegasus and Horsa Bridges.
The charity aims to raise £500,000, a small proportion of which will be used to erect a memorial to the men of the Coup de Main force and those directly associated with the operation.
It will be put up in front of the original bridge within the grounds of the Memorial Pegasus Museum.
The remainder of the money raised will be split between various service charities.
The teams that entered were as follows:
Manchester United – 5th Battalion The Rifles
Liverpool – 1st Royal Tank Regiment
Aston Villa – Queen's Royal Hussars
Chelsea – 200 Signals Squadron, Royal Signals
Arsenal – Royal Artillery
Everton – KBR (civilian)
Wigan Athletic – Iraqi Police Service
West Ham United – Royal Military Police
Manchester City – 1 Logistic Supply Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps
Fulham – 1st Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment
Sunderland – 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, Royal Air Force
Hull City – 35 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers
Newcastle – 52 Brigade Iraqi Army
Bolton – Department of Border Enforcement
Portsmouth – Turners (civilian)
Tottenham Hotspur – UK Medical Group
Stoke City – 50 Brigade Iraqi Army
Blackburn – 51 Brigade Iraqi Army
Middlesbrough – 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment
West Bromwich Albion – Iraqi Air Force.