The “Volleyball Unites Nations” project is launched. LISTEN

photo: Justyna Matjas and Piotr Sumara / PLS /

In Krakow, the launch of the “Volleyball Connects Nations” program was announced, which will be combined with performances in this city in the PlusLiga competition of the Ukrainian club Barkom Kazany Lwów. The project should lay the foundation for the integration of the local community with refugees from Ukraine and the assimilation of children, young people from Ukraine and their families with Poland.

After several years of preparation, the decision was made to participate in PlusLiga from the Lviv team. The Russian attack on Ukraine prevented the Barkom-Kazany team from performing in their city. The team will therefore compete against rivals in the Hutnik Hall in Krakow. The “Volleyball Unites Nations” project will be implemented in two areas: sport and integration. The staff and players of Barkom Kazany, with the support of the training staff of Małopolska clubs, will provide joint volleyball lessons for children and young people from Poland and Ukraine. At the same time, coaches and players not involved in volleyball lessons with children and young people will carry out physical activities with elements of volleyball for adult members of Polish and Ukrainian families involved in the project.

“This is a very necessary program. The Poles have given the fleeing Ukrainians a safe place over their heads, and that was the most important thing, and now we are at a different stage. Integration is essential for Ukrainians to live well in the Polish society . I am happy that we managed to get this program going, tipping the information that the team Barkom Kazany Lviv will play in PlusLiga. I think other sports disciplines will follow the example of the volleyball community ” – said Kamil Bortniczuk, the minister of sports and tourism during Monday’s press conference.

“Sport has always been connected and I hope that in PlusLiga matches there will be a substitute for your home country. You will be able to come, sing your national anthem and integrate with each other and with Polish fans. This project lasted many years, the circumstances should have been different, but we are happy that we made it possible. This can be achieved “- added the president of the Polish Volleyball League, Artur Popko.

The “Volleyball Connecting Nations” project was set up by the Polish Volleyball Foundation together with the Barkom Kazany Lwów club, with the support of the Polish Volleyball League, the Polish Volleyball Association, the Lesser Poland Volleyball Association, youth clubs and volleyball departments from Krakow and Lesser Poland, and the involvement of the Krakow City Council and the Sports Infrastructure Council in Krakow. The next element, in terms of integration, will be the creation of a club of supporters of Barkom Kazany Lviv. As part of this, among other things, match setting of the club from Lviv in Kraków, participation of fans in away games, organization of integration meetings is made.

“I have to admit that this is a special event, but it was supposed to take place in Lviv. Before February 24, none of us expected that this would be the reality. This project aims to help people who have escaped from the war. And young people could integrate with the Polish environment and live normally. Let volleyball connect countries “- said the president of the Polish Volleyball Federation, Sebastian Świderski.

“There are two aspects to this case. One is of course the Polish and Ukrainian youth. I hope they will train together and gain skills. But there is also another matter, because the best teams will come to Krakow, which will make the Cracovians will be able to see the best volleyball, I hope we will see the team from Krakow soon in PlusLiga “- added Krzysztof Kowal, director of the sports infrastructure management council in Krakow. It is this institution that manages the hall where Barkom Kazany players will perform.

Oleg Baran, president of the Barkom Kazany Lviv club, is grateful that his club can play in Krakow’s PlusLiga, but he does not hide that he dreams of inviting the teams to Lviv.

“We are very grateful to have such support and the opportunity to carry out the project that we have been talking about for years. We, as a club, but also all of Ukraine are very grateful. We are going to learn volleyball from you, because after all, Poland is a volleyball power and we will develop this sport in Ukraine. The idea was different, because we wanted PlusLiga to come to Ukraine. I believe we will achieve this “- he said.

The conference was also attended by Ukraine’s Youth and Sports Minister Vadim Hutcajt and Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadowy. “Thank you very much for your support in these difficult times. The fact that Ukrainian teams can play and train in Poland and participate in the tournament is extremely important” – said the minister.

“It is a great honor for me to participate in this conference. I keep my fingers crossed that the Barkom Kazany team will set a good level because every win will be very important for us. There has never been like this before” n reconciliation has been like today. Poles are great” – added the mayor of Lviv.

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