• 225 Oscar Foundation youngsters have been to matches at India 2017
  • LOC have been handing out tickets to non-profit organisations
  • Oscar Foundation is supported by the FIFA Football for Hope programme

Football is more than just a game where two teams try to put a ball into a net. It is also a valuable tool for hundreds of social development programmes carried out by non-governmental organisations across the planet, as the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 has proved once again. For many children, the matches in India have been far more than just a 90-minute quest for victory.

The Local Organising Committee has been handing out 100 tickets for every game to non-profit organisations working with underprivileged children. As a result, a total of 225 youngsters aged between ten and 14 from the Oscar Foundation got to witness the match between Ghana and Niger at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai – and FIFA.com spoke with several of them in the stands.

"I'm very happy to be watching this game," said Satim, as the two African sides vied for supremacy. "It's a great opportunity to learn lots of things about football. It's good that India gets to host these kinds of global events."

"It's fantastic to be able to watch teams of this standard," added Konal. "You can see how they play and how they change their tactics during the game based on the score. It's the second time I've been to the stadium, as I also watched the match between Paraguay and Mali. It's an unforgettable experience."

"To have a World Cup in India is a unique event," said Samir. "That's why we're really happy to be in the stadium and to get to enjoy this experience from the stands."

Supported by the FIFA Football for Hope programme, the Oscar Foundation uses football to help underprivileged children and young people acquire the skills they need to contribute to the development of their communities. Founded in 2006, the foundation oversees a unique initiative which aims to teach sport to the youngsters under their wing. The initiative is spearheaded by a team of teachers, who help children and young people reach their maximum potential.

"It's a chance for them to watch games live and you can see how excited they are," explained Sonia, who chaperoned the youngsters at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium. "This will encourage them to develop their skills in the future."

Programmes such as these change the lives of children and young people. And by confronting the problems facing each society, they contribute to positive social development throughout the world.​