Saudi heartbreak in thrilling finale to Exeter City's diversity tournament
There was heartbreak for the Saudi Arabia team in the final of the Exeter City Supporters Trust backed annual diversity football tournament held yesterday (9 June) at the University of Exeter.
The Saudis battled back to level three times in a 4-4 draw with local Exeter side Cronies. But it was the Cronies, led by player manager and Grecians fan Matt Webb, who edged the penalty shoot out 3-2. The Saudis had the consolation of winning the Fran Jenkin Fair Play award.
12 teams took part with the Cronies reaching the final after beating Palestine United 2-1 in the semi final. The Saudis beat the Devon African Community 3-1 at the same stage.
The competition encourages participation from local black and minority ethnic teams and attracts players from many different parts of the world. This year’s event also attracted players from Spain, Poland, Afghanistan and Iran as well as the Devon Lions, the local gay friendly football club.
The tournament was organised by Exeter City FC’s One Game, One Community Group and supported by the University of Exeter, who hosted the event, Exeter City Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon FA, Exeter City Supporters Trust, Exeter City FC Football in the Community Trust, Open Space International FC and Tesco.
The tournament was launched by Mark Overton, University deputy vice-chancellor alongside Cllr Rob Hannaford, Deputy Lord Mayor of Exeter; Chris Eastwood, Exeter Police Superintendant and Laurence Overend, Chair of Exeter City Supporters Trust and Director of Exeter City FC.
The One Game, One Community ethos is part of Kick It Out’s key messaging. The campaign aims to address all types of discrimination in football including race, disability, gender, age, religion and sexual orientation.
“This is the ninth tournament we have held and it continues to be a great festival of football with a real international flavour. Yet again Exeter City has flown the flag for equality and diversity in football and the local community” said Martin Weiler, for the Exeter City One Game, One Community Group.