Helsinki Cup, the Finland based junior football tournament, kicked off on Monday July 9th in grand style. The highlight of Monday evening’s opening ceremony was a world record attempt for the team photo with most players. An estimated 4,000 junior-aged footballers first paraded through the streets of Central Helsinki with vuvuzelas thundering and team flags waving. They then aligned on the steps of Helsinki Cathedral, where the record-aiming photo was taken.
The current record for most players in a team photograph stands at around 1,500, so it is expected to be broken once the documentation from Monday evening is sent to and verified by Guinness World Records.
Helsinki Cup is organized 9th-14th July for the 43rd time. It is the third biggest junior football tournament in Europe with over 20,000 players annually, behind only Gothia Cup and Norway Cup. This year 1,320 teams participate in Helsinki Cup, which is a new high for the tournament. Among them are 82 international teams that are visiting Helsinki from 18 different countries. All in all, when all players, coaches, parents, fans and other visiting guests are included, Helsinki Cup attracts up to 250,000 visitors during the tournament week.
450 employees are associated with the event, which according to the research company Sponsor Insight brings an estimated 13-15 million euros to Helsinki’s economical area. The patron of the tournament is none other than The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö.
The one to declare the games open on Monday evening, however, was Mr. Sampo Terho, the Finnish Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport. In his speech Minister Terho encouraged all participants towards fair play and mutual respect.
“I wish you all many succesful performances and good games during the upcoming tournament. Football is essentially about fair play and respecting your opponent. Let’s make this tournament an unforgettable one,” Minister Terho proclaimed.