On a day where major sporting events occurred across football, tennis, and UFC, the biggest of them all took place at Hackney Marshes, The 32 London Borough Cup.

Organised by Hackney Wick founder Bobby Kasanga, the tournament consisted of a team from each London borough in a World Cup format.

Kinetic Foundation Academy represented the London Borough of Islington and ran out winners as they overcame Lambeth in the final. DC Football academy won the Europa Cup edition, representing the London Borough of Greenwich.

In just over six months, 21 teenagers have been killed on the streets of London, with the tally on course to surpass the highest recorded total of 27 in 2017.

Headlines referencing violent crime often associated with the youth of the capital, the 32 Borough Cup aims to challenge this narrative and paint them in a positive light. The event doubles up as a career fair, with sponsors such as Barclays, BT Sport, and London Metropolitan Police holding workshops throughout the day.

With restriction’s easing, predictions have been made for figures of violent crime to increase dramatically, due to growing tensions over lockdown.

Postcode wars are often touted as the reason for such violence - the tournament plays on this - creating healthy competition between areas in an attempt to achieve unity between communities.

Signed players were unable to represent their boroughs, giving a lot of youngsters the opportunity to showcase their abilities to their peers, watching coaches, and scouts on a regional scale.
BT Sport’s Hope United sponsored the competition, with the project focused on tackling online hate. This problem has had a huge impact on both everyday life and sport.

Racial abuse directed towards the England National Team heroes, just hours after the 32 Borough Cup, highlighted the need to be ‘united against hate’ and why the project is crucial to individuals up and down the country.

Anton Ferdinand made time to come down and enjoy the event. Having grown up in a rough part of London, and also being a victim of abuse, the former Queens Park Rangers defender was understandably invested in the tournament.

He gave the gazette his general thoughts of the event and how important it can be to solve the numerous issues we have as a society.

“It means a lot to me to be here. Firstly, thank you to BT Sport for bringing me here on behalf of ‘The Hope Campaign’, a fantastic initiative to make social media a more friendly place for - not just people with blue tick - but everybody in the community.”

“The initiative that we’ve got going on today is something that’s close to my heart because I was one of these guys many years ago. An aspiring footballer, from an estate in Peckham, and I'm living proof that there is another route you can go rather than getting into knife and gun crime.”

“To see how football brings everyone together is something that you can't dismiss, something you can't overlook. The fact that you’ve got people from 32 different boroughs here, which normally if football wasn’t involved, it would be a different story. “

“It would have been fantastic if this existed when we were younger because you get to play against people who look and think the same way as you but are just from different areas and backgrounds. We had certain things going on in our community, which were similar to this, this has just broadened which is fantastic. More things like this need to happen and come to the fore.”

Bobby Kasanga hinted on his Instagram that the edition for next year’s tournament may include regional teams to represent the likes of Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, following the success of this edition.

Overall, the event ran smoothly, providing the youth with valuable experiences and a learning curve in regard to performance on the pitch as well as their daily lives.

It remains only a matter of time before Bobby Kasanaga is awarded for all the work he has done for local communities.

There is no doubt that there is more to come from the team, but for now, they have earned a well-earned break. We do it all over again next year, bring it on!