AN INTERNATIONAL football team is to run a five-a-side tournament in Plymouth thanks to a £1,000 Comic Relief grant.
Hope FC, a football team made up of local people and people from across the globe who have settled in Plymouth after fleeing persecution in their own country, will invite other teams to join its football festival during the World Cup.
David Feindouno, who set up the club a year ago, said the festival will further aid integration because the players will be able to bring their families along.
He said: "We have so many people involved in the club, we thought it would be nice to organise a football festival to involve the players' families and to hold a tournament."
He said the club was especially keen to have the festival this year to bring some of the joy of the World Cup to Plymouth, and he hoped that the festival would become an annual event.
Hope FC is run by volunteers and is completely free to the players who take part, both local and foreign.
David said the tournament would also be free, and he hoped as many teams as possible from around the city would join in.
He said: "We have links with other clubs and we will try to sign them up.
"Some clubs don't have a full team so we will encourage them to put a few guys together.
"We will also invite local churches to join in.
"We want as many teams as possible."
Hope FC includes people of 15 different nationalities, among them Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Bangladeshis, Zimbabweans and Nigerians.
It is now affiliated to the Devon Football Association and preparing for entry into the football league next season.
The team trains twice a week at Central Park, taking part in five and six-a-side friendlies.
David, 26, who lives in Greenbank but came originally from Guinea in West Africa, started the team after realising that many refugees had a lot of free time but were not well integrated into the local community.
He said: "In football, everyone plays freely and enjoys themselves. Everyone has made a lot of friends."
Hope FC is one of 67 organisations from Plymouth to benefit from a handout of more than £60,000 from Comic Relief's Community Cash fund.
This is the first time the fund, raised through Comic Relief and Sport Relief, has been distributed in Plymouth.
The grants of up to £1,000 are designed to benefit small-scale projects making the best use of the money to benefit local people.
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