Representatives from four continents are attending the XVII edition of the Mare Nostrum Cup, a football tournament that has been held this last weekend on the Costa Daurada and that had CE Futbol Salou as a central hub. This year again broke participation records with 220 teams arriving from Europe, Asia, and Africa to enjoy the climate of the Costa Daurada whilst playing football.
The teams, from a total of 16 countries, comprised of more than 5,500 people between participants and accompanying persons. The participants in U-7 to U-12 categories played 7 a side, and U-13 to U-19 11 a side; playing more than 450 football matches during the tournament. These figures show a steady growth being experienced by the tournament every year and has made a huge leap from five years ago, which was when the alliance began between the CE Futbol Salou and the Mare Nostrum Cup. This has made the football tournament one of the biggest sports events on the Costa Dorada.
In total, during this seventeenth edition, matches were played on 21 football fields: 8 professional fields at CE Futbol Salou, and 13 soccer fields distributed amongst the neighbouring towns of Tarragona and Reus, no more than 10-15 minutes by car or bus.
The director of the Mare Nostrum Cup, Josep Masip, was delighted by how the tournament has developed: "It was the Best Mare Nostrum Cup in history. Getting 220 teams was not an easy target, but we have succeeded. There could have been more teams, there have been some problems, such as excessive traffic in Salou, but we could easily fix that and there have been no major issues".
Football, the authentic star
All of the teams met on Thursday evening at Cambrils Park Sport Village, where there was a welcome party, and took the opportunity to garner some information about the tournament. The competition took off Friday with the start of the group stage matches. This phase lasted until Saturday evening, when qualifying began, and according to the category, or the final consolation stages.
But the highlight was Sunday at noon when, from midday, seven finals were played on CE Futbol Salou pitches, at the same time. At the end, the award ceremony, attended by the President of the Catalan Football Federation, Andreu Subies; the regional delegate of the Catalan Football Federation, Josep Vives; the mayor of Salou, Pere Granados, and the councilman for sports Salou, Daniel López. Accompanied by the director of CE Futbol Salou & Cambrils Park Resort, Xavier Blasi, facilities that have hosted much of the tournament; and the director of the Mare Nostrum Cup, Albert Viñas, along with the Manager of the Mare Nostrum Cup Delfí Vives.
These were the final matches – winner in bold type.
- Prebenjamí: PBIB Eivissa (0) vs. CF Sant Cugat (4)
- Benjamí: Cerdanyola (4) vs. Sant Cugat (1)
- Aleví: L’Hospitalet A (2) vs. Sant Cugat C (1)
- Infantil: CF Reus Deportiu (2) vs. North Tipperari (1)
- Cadet: Athletic Balears (0) vs. E. Europa (2)
- Juvenil: Tonbridge Angels FCA (0) vs. CE L’Hospitalet (2)
- Femení absolut: RCD Español (1) vs. C.D. Parquesol (0)
As Massip said, "these are good results on a sporting level because the teams are fairly distributed, and we had winners from Catalonia, Spain and international." Looking ahead to next year, the director of the Mare Nostrum said "We will match figures of this year and even surpass them. But mostly we set to work to get teams from Oceania, the fifth continent whose presence is currently lacking in the Mare Nostrum Cup.
With the end of the seventeenth Edition, the Mare Nostrum Cup tournament has demonstrated internationalisation and growth, both quantitative and qualitative, living the event year after year. Furthermore, it clearly strengthens sports tourism on the Costa Dorada, where reservations prior to Easter have found favourable contracts.