For almost 50 years, the World Transplant Games Federation has been working to improve and lengthen the lives of the world’s organ transplant recipients by encouraging their participation in sports and fitness-related activities, including the Summer and Winter World Transplant Games. Transplant recipients who remain active or become active in exercise, fitness activities and sport have a higher quality of life and keep their transplants longer, thus extending their lives.
Recognizing that football is the most popular sport in the world and that thousands of transplant recipients participate on all skill levels, the WTGF through its World Transplant Football Commission has begun an initiative to build on this base and increase the participation of transplant athletes in football from beginners to elite national programs. The Commission is working toward an eventual biannual World Transplant Football Cup and is planning a prototype international transplant football tournament in the future.
The World Transplant Games Federation has announced that the first Transplant Football World Cup will be held 30 August-5 September in Cesenatico, Italy.
For 40 years the WTGF has provided a unique opportunity for transplant recipients to participate in both the World Summer and Winter Transplant Games. Thousands of recipients from more than 70 countries have used these Games to benchmark their personal fitness and join the world’s greatest celebration of the gift of life.
WTGF President Chris Thomas said the WTGF has listened to the worldwide transplant community and responded by providing an opportunity for those recipients who have a love of football to show their skills on the pitch.
“Football, as a team-based sport, is different from many of the usual sports under the WTGF flag. Football provides a greater opportunity for social inclusion, it teaches teamwork and how to win (and sometimes lose) as a team. It helps develop a person’s self-worth and resilience,” Mr Thomas said.
Modeled on the FIFA World Cup, the competition will feature teams from the member countries of the Federation which will compete in a World Cup format to crown an International Champion. Teams are entirely made up of those who’ve had their lives saved by organ donation. Heart, lung, liver, kidney, cornea and bone-marrow recipients will unite on the pitch to celebrate their second chance at life.
WTGF Football Commission Chair Andre Lassooij said the players had overcome life-threatening illness and will play to honor their organ donors and donor families; to showcase the benefits of transplantation, and to inspire people all over the world to register or support organ and tissue donation.
“This tournament will reinforce our belief that ‘yes, recipients can achieve anything’. And returning to their favourite sport is a dream for many. We are pleased to help it come true.”
Teams will compete in three preliminary rounds qualifying to a knockout semi-final and final round. Matches will be staged in accordance with FIFA rules with some modifications to safeguard the transplanted organs of the athletes. Teams will consist of 11 players and at least 7 reserves. The games will be 30-minute halves, with unlimited substitutions allowed.
The tournament is being staged by Associazione Italiana Cultura Sport (AICS). Mr Thomas thanked AICS for its willingness to host our inaugural tournament and showcase the gift of life in such an inspiring event.
Mr Bruno Molea, AICS President, thanked WTGF to have granted AICS as the Host of the first edition of the World Transplant Football Cup. He underlined that AICS had installed a team of skilled and experienced sports managers and technicians and has the capacity to stage the tournament.
“In Cesenatico, the WTGF teams will enjoy not only the sport programme but will experience the typical Italian hospitality. We can promise you to enjoy the spectacular and colourful Opening and Closing Ceremonies, made in the Olympiade spirit and that a staff of specialists and volunteers will assist everyday athletes, supporters, fans and families day by day, Mr Molea, said.
Tailor made tourist packages will be offered to athletes and their families, including special packages for kids to discover the marvelous key-attractions of Italy and Emilia Romagna Region. A special Scientific Programme will be set up to promote an opportunity of reflection and public awareness on the topics of transplants and donations.
“WTGF provides us the chance to address all our sports clubs and our individual members, of all ages and conditions, all over Italy, to be sensitized on the topic of individual responsibility to contribute to the public health, and on the role of sport as an engine of health promotion and social cohesion,” he concluded.
The event will be supervised by the WTGF newly-created WTGF Football Commission which will be responsible for the rules, safety and conduct of the event.
The details are:
Date: Sunday, August 30 to Saturday, September 5, 2020
Location: Cesenatico, Italy
Format: Teams will compete in three preliminary rounds qualifying to a knockout semi-final and final round. Matches will be staged in accordance with FIFA rules with some modifications to safeguard the transplanted organs of the athletes. Teams will consist of 11 players and at least 7 but up to 11 reserves. The games will be 30-minute halves, with unlimited substitutions allowed.
Host: The tournament is being staged by Associazione Italiana Cultura Sport (AICS)*.
Cost: It is expected that the registration fee for this event, including accommodation and transportation, will be approximately €420 per team member. There will be a lower fee which doesn’t include accommodation and transport.
The World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) unites transplant recipients from across the world to promote the success of organ and tissue donation and life-saving transplantation. With more than 70 member countries, the WTGF stages the world’s largest awareness events for transplantation, the Summer World Transplant Games, and the Winter World Transplant Games, to inspire the public to consider organ and tissue donation. For almost 50 years, the World Transplant Games Federation has been working to improve and lengthen the lives of the world’s organ transplant recipients by encouraging their participation in these Olympics-style events and in health and fitness activities critical to their transplant success. For information on the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Associazione Italiana Cultura Sport (AICS) is Italy’s largest sports organization whose vision is to promote sport and culture as key tools for social inclusion, and wellbeing. AICS has over 1.2 million members in 12,000 chapters throughout Italy. AICS affiliated organizations stage more than 7,200 events each year. For additional information on AICS, contact email@example.com.
To encourage transplant recipients to participate in football, the Federation has developed the following resources to assist members in developing the sport within their countries:
A set of rules for football adapted for transplant recipients.
Guidelines and recommendations for developing a transplant football program locally and within a country.
An Agreement of understanding for Organizers, Trainers and Referees.
For assistance in building a football program, contact the WTGF at firstname.lastname@example.org
Transplant Football exhibition match media coverage