England reach ‘World Final’ – as 2 Liverpool Legends show support for unique tournament

Whilst EURO 2024 football fever sweeps across the country in many living rooms and pubs as the knockout stages approach, in Liverpool this weekend a very different type of football drama is about to unfold and reach its climatic end.

On Sunday, at Jericho Lane football hub in Otterspool, South Liverpool, the final of this year’s The World in One City (WIOC) take place after a month-long series of highly competitive football action on the pitch, and excitement, drama, noise, and energy from the attending spectators off it.

The WIOC tournament, which was founded in 2021 and is a volunteer-led international tournament, celebrates multi-ethnic communities and individuals from across the Liverpool City Region who come to proudly showcase their heritage, culture, and diversity.

16 different teams qualified for this year’s WIOC competition, with players representing nations of their birth or family heritage from different continents around the world.

The opening three weeks of this year’s tournament have already seen great matches with hundreds of local spectators turning up to see players representing teams from nations spanning five continents who each qualified for the finals this year – Albania, Bangladesh, Brazil, Congo, England, Guinea-Bissau, Ireland, Jamaica, Libya, Namibia, Nigeria, Somali Team, West Indies, Yemen, Zimbabwe, plus a Rest of the World (ROTW) team.

Two teams are left standing this year – Libya and England – after thrilling knockout stage matches earlier this week, and play each other to see who will be crowned The World in One City champion for 2024.

Liverpool legends John Barnes and Bruce Grobbelaar were two of the special guests who came down during the tournament this year again to support players and coaches representing Jamaica and Zimbabwe, as well as to meet fans in attendance.

Both former Reds legends were unequivocal in their support for the tournament and the great spotlight it helps shine on the various communities and cultures who integrate Liverpool and Merseyside region.

“It’s a great occasion because it’s bigger than football,” said Barnes. “It’s about people coming together, communities supporting each other. Showing how vibrant and diverse a community is.

“They have pride in their country, they have pride in themselves, they’re showing they love football, they love community spirit. They have brotherhood with other members of the community even though they are from other countries.”

Grobbelaar praised: “World in One City, putting together this tournament, bringing so many diverse countries and people together.

“Liverpool is a diverse city, going way, way back. Football brings people together. Football is a global sport. This is a melting pot right here.”

Imad Ali, founder and co-creator of WIOC, also said: “It gives me immense pride to see how many diverse and proud communities from across the Liverpool City Region come together through our annual tournament to not only embrace their sporting passions, but also showcase their own cultural diversity, unique identities and positive community spirit WIOC attracts.”

The World in One City final takes place at 2:00pm on Sunday 30th June at Leisure United Jericho Lane football hub. Entry is free for all spectators.

All photos courtesy of: Glen O’Connell (@GOSportsEnt) / World in One City