More than 67,000 street football teams of three age groups – the senior (14-15 years), medium (12-13) and junior (10-11 years) took part in the most mass children’s amateur competition in Russia – the Leather Ball. Having its origins back in the Soviet times, the tournament lives on, rejoicing youngsters for 39 years already and discovering new promising names for the Big Time Sport.
August is the peak of activity for the Leather Ball, the time when the winners are named. Next year the champion of the junior age group will represent Russia in the Danone Nations Cup, a world championship among children’s non-professional teams. Last year’s winner of the Leather Ball–the Irbis-Avtodor team from North Ossetia–will defend the colours of Russia in Paris in September this year.
Incidentally, the Danone Company, the world’s leader in dairy produce and confectionery, has been rendering material support for the Leather Ball tournament since 1997. The company is one of its organizers, together with the Goskomsport of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, the Football Union of Russia and the Leather Ball club.