The countdown is now on for the ninth Mallorca Football Tournament in Santa Ponsa, with the first weekend of international five-a-side football kicking off on October 14.
The tournament, which in 2019 attracted 4,500 players from all over the world to Calvia, was due to have been played in May, as is tradition, but Covid meant that last year’s tournament was cancelled and that this year’s event has been moved to next month.
Nevertheless, despite the pandemic still looming and travel restrictions in place for some countries, Harry Engels has managed to overcome the hurdles. With the full backing of Calvia Council and in cooperation with Viajes Adramar, 1,500 players, male and female from across the globe, will be taking part in this year’s tournament.
Since the first event in Mallorca in 2012, it has grown into a massive sporting event.
This year, the tournament, because of Covid rules and regulations, will be staged over three weekends. This will mean an extra late boost for the tourism industry in Calvia.
The first weekend is for amateur teams, the second weekend is for walking football teams and the final weekend, October 28 to November 1, will be for government personnel such as police officers, armed forces, customs officials and firefighters, plus more amateur sides.
Harry admits that the pandemic has thrown up all kinds of problems, but a great deal of work has gone into making sure that whatever the rules and regulations are come kick-off, all Covid measures will be fully complied with.
This year, the bulk of the teams are from Europe, such as the UK, Holland, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Sweden, Romania, Switzerland, Croatia, Ireland and Norway. There are also teams from Canada, Tunisia, Algeria and the Reunion Islands in the Indian Ocean, plus Mallorca.
“It’s going to be such a relief to be able to return to Mallorca to host the event. Over the years the players have got to love coming to play in Mallorca and many stay on for a holiday. Santa Ponsa is ideal for the tournament and the Sport Bar at the ground is extremely cooperative. And we always try and do as much as we can to help the local economy.
“This year’s event is obviously not going to be as large as normal. There are many teams who wanted to come but have decided to wait until May 2022. I think there is still some uncertainty out there about travelling and the possible Covid implications. But we’re extremely pleased we’ve managed to organise a tournament this year and we hope that this will be the start of a new post-pandemic era when the tournament in Mallorca will continue to grow. Next year, fingers crossed, it will be bigger and better than ever.
“We’ve got big plans for Calvia next year. As well as the five-a-side football tournaments, we are going to be staging an international amateur youth football tournament for international 11-a-side teams and that will be played at a host of locations across Calvia because we need full-size pitches. Plus, we’re going to be hosting an international amateur tennis tournament in Mallorca as well.
“We believe so much in Mallorca and are committed to the island. Apart from being such a wonderful island with so much to see and do, especially for teams who have come from the other ends of the world, Mallorca is a global brand that sells itself and that helps us as organisers of an international event on this scale.”
Organised by Mallorca Football Events with the full support of Calvia Council, the local authorities, hotel federation and the business community, the May tournament normally gives Santa Ponsa a really good start to the season - this year it will give the resort a welcome end of season lift.
On average, most of the teams stay at least six days, some even longer as they make a holiday of the event. This generates welcome income for the local community and the resort.
For the opening ceremony of the government personnel tournament, all the police and military personnel are in uniform and national dress. The football is free to the public who would like to go along, enjoy the atmosphere and support their countries.
“This year is obviously going to be a very Covid-friendly event. There may be changes to whatever the rules and regulations are in Mallorca by the time we kick off, but we will fully comply with whatever is expected of us.”
The Mallorca event is the sister/brother of the prestigious World Police Indoor Soccer Tournament which takes place every year in October in the Netherlands, but since retired Dutch police officer Harry launched the Mallorca event, it has become a major success - next year will be its tenth anniversary.
Harry says that should any local Mallorcan amateur or walking football teams wish to take part, there will be no charge this year. They have until September 15 to register, although special arrangements will be made to accommodate any latecomers. So if you are a football player and fancy your skills, there is still time to get a five-a-side team together to take on the rest of the world in Santa Ponsa next month.
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