The “torch–like” journey of The Ball is the most important element of the initiative and is the narrative spine that supports the activities that surround it.
The narrative of The Ball is shaped by those who participate in it. The Ball adds value to a cause in a way that simultaneously extends community reach, enhances identity and promotes action. Each journey develops around a theme and reveals the ability of football to transcend boundaries, borders and stereotypes. Central to the journey is a series of events whose purpose is to benefit the people, projects and organisations that are involved with The Ball and leave a legacy for them once it has moved on.
The theme for the 2018 journey was “empathy”. The Ball explored this through the experience of displaced people; the journeys that they have needed to make and the challenges they faced once they found refuge. We highlighted the extraordinary work that is being done using football to help these people find a new home and build new communities.
The route began (as always) in Battersea Park in London, England then passed through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Armenia, Georgia and finally arrived in Russia in time for the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow.
Spirit of Football’s award winning curriculum “One Ball, One World” was deployed in schools and communities en route. Collaboration with project partners ensured that The Ball 2018 left a lasting legacy and extended the impact of the World Cup beyond the borders of the host country, Russia.