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Discussions are under way between the Governments of Jamaica and Chile for the development of a youth football programme in the island.

Dubbed ‘Fundación Fútbol Más’, the initiative is targeted at girls and boys who live in socially vulnerable environments, instilling in them the critical values and attitudes that can effect positive social change.

The Embassy of Chile will execute the programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

It is part of an agreement on sports cooperation between the countries, which was signed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during an official visit to Chile in August 2017.

A model of the programme, which is in eight countries, was presented to students and teachers of Cockburn Gardens Primary and Junior High, St. Andrew, on Tuesday (November 20), which was designated National Play Day by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

About 150 children and young leaders participated in a two-day workshop under the guidance of Fundación Fútbol Más coach, Vicente Valdelamar.

During daily six-hour sessions, the students played football and participated in discussions on what a team is and the importance of teamwork, among other things.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday (November 22) at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, Mr. Valdelamar said that the workshop was well-received.

“Everyone was saying, when are you coming back and when are you going to have another workshop like this,” he said.

He noted that the objective of the programme is not only to play football but “for everyone to come together to share space, to share knowledge and to share the positive things about everyone in that space”.

“We believe in the power of the sport as a way of discipline, as a way to create bonds between people,” Mr. Valdelamar added.

Ambassador of Chile, His Excellency Francisco Bernales, for his part, informed that meetings are being held with officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport towards the introduction of Fundación Fútbol Más.

He explained that the programme is focused on the values of respect, creativity, teamwork and responsibility, while promoting joy.

He said the teams will be a mixture of boys and girls, thereby supporting gender equity and social change.

“The philosophy of football is not only playing football with children; the game is about showing respect and other values such as teamwork and responsibility, especially between genders. This would eventually be taken to the family and to the community,” he pointed out.