Football fans raise £112,000 for co-existence at UJIA Sports Night

June 5, 2015

A buzzing atmosphere at Wembley Stadium helps secure expansion of football programme for Arab and Jewish children.

Triumphant: Lizard's All Stars, who beat 31 teams to take home the BDO Cup.

Triumphant: Lizard’s All Stars, who beat 31 teams to take home the BDO Cup.

See the event photos here.

Former Football Association Chairman David Bernstein has urged support for a football co-existence programme in Israel, telling 320 guests at UJIA’s annual Sports Night, “Football is a great unifier, and the power of football can perhaps provide a unique way for young people from different communities to meet, mix and compete in a positive environment.”

The event, held at the Bobby Moore Suite, Wembley Stadium, was presented by award winning LBC Scores presenter Ian Payne, who hosted the five round quiz from a raised Astroturf stage fitted with goals.

Former FA Chairman David Bernstein with guests.

Former FA Chairman David Bernstein with guests.

Following dessert, guests viewed a film about the UJIA-supported Equalizer programme, which gives Arab and Jewish children from deprived backgrounds in the Galil, the chance to play football together and get help with their schoolwork.

David Bernstein, who managed Manchester City for five seasons from 1998 and was appointed CBE in 2014 for services to football, gave the appeal speech, emphasizing “the importance of having channels for Arabs and Jews to meet and integrate’. He told guests, “I am passionate about the role of sport in making this happen in Israel and that’s why I got involved with Equalizer.”

Appeal: David Bernstein urging guests to support the UJIA-backed Equalizer Programme.

Appeal: David Bernstein urging guests to support the UJIA-backed Equalizer Programme.

He also delivered a message from outgoing UK Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, who thanked UJIA for its work it the Galil and described Equalizer as, “a fabulous programme, which does as much to bring together children from across Israeli society as any programme that I’ve seen, using the shared national obsession with football.”

After five tough quiz rounds, “Lizard’s All Stars” were the winners of the night, beating 31 teams to victory and taking home the BDO Cup, donated by the night’s sponsors. The crowd was also entertained by freestyle footballer Paul Wood, along with some brave guests, and had the opportunity to bid for a range of prizes in the silent auction. These included a signed picture of the FA Cup Arsenal team, a signed Wayne Rooney England shirt and a range of luxury holidays.

L-R: UJIA Chief Executive Michael Wegier, Tracy Benjamin, Paul Corper, Russell Rich, David Bernstein, Emma Bergen,  Ian Payne,  Clive Nathan,  Jonathan Lauffer, Josh Landy.

L-R: UJIA Chief Executive Michael Wegier, Tracy Benjamin, Paul Corper, Russell Rich, David Bernstein, Emma Bergen, Ian Payne, Clive Nathan, Jonathan Lauffer, Josh Landy.

The night raised £112,000 which will go towards the expansion of the Equalizer programme in the western Galil.