APPIANO GENTILE - "Football Therapy" was first created on 22 September 2015, on the eve of Inter v Hellas Verona. The scheme allows child patients at Milan's and Monza's paediatric oncohaematology wards to attend Inter home matches at the Stadio Meazza.
Based on the "Football Therapy" experience, SIAMO and FIAGOP joined forces to introduce the Winners' Cup, which will involve a number of young hospital patients. The tournament, which is backed by F.C. Internazionale global main sponsor Pirelli and sponsored by CONI, will take place on Saturday 22 April 2017 at Suning Development Centre in memory of Giacinto Facchetti.
The competition will feature 12 teams from a variety of paediatric oncology wards, namely Aviano/Udine/Trieste, Bari, Bologna, Genoa, Milan, Modena, Monza, Naples, Padova, Palermo/Catania, Pisa/Firenze and Rome. The video of 'Uniti per vincere', the Winners' Cup anthem, was shown during the press conference. The song was written and performed by Stefano Signoroni and Jake Sarno as part of Progetto Giovani (www.ilprogettogiovani.it) at Milan's national cancer institute. Find it on YouTube.
First to speak was SIAMO founder and coordinator Andrea Ferrari, who recently published a book entitled "Non c'è un perché: ammalarsi di tumore in adolescenza".
"It will be a day of sport and fun," said Ferrari. "Above all it will give us the chance to tell these special young people's stories. Using football, we aim to create specific projects for young people similar to the Progetto Giovani at Milan's national cancer institute. We hope this can raise awareness on the quality of care that patients this age receive. They often run the risk of not receiving adequate treatment."
FIAGOP chairman Angelo Ricci then took the floor. His organisation brings together more than 30 parents' associations working in paediatric oncohaematology.
"Young people need specifically designed facilities and initiatives," said Ricci. "The Italian associations have decided to act now and it's important that this occurs with the support of AIEOP, the Italian Association for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology. We must work with doctors who treat our children on a daily basis. The aim of this scheme is to raise awareness."
"At times you can win twice in sport and the Winners' Cup is one of these," revealed CSI Milan chairman Massimo Achini. "It will be a wonderful and unforgettable experience for the children involved but it also sends out a very strong message to all the young people in this country. We at CSI are very proud to be a partner on this wonderful project."
Nerazzurri youth-team technical coordinator Daniele Bernazzani spoke on behalf of Inter at the event, revealing his pride at the club's involvement and stressing that "important schemes like these help us and our youngsters to face very serious life experiences."
The aim of the Winners' Cup for F.C. Internazionale, along with Pirelli and partners SIAMO, FIAGOP and CSI, is to show how football - like other hobbies - can help young people to overcome the challenges life throws at them.
Inter captain Mauro Icardi also attended the presentation and gave out 12 signed captain's armbands, one for each of the 12 teams taking part.