The „Orlikowa” Champions League, in 2019 was held for the 11th time with tournaments played in 8 disciplines
Orlik 2012 was a joint government-region-commune project to build a football (soccer) and joint volleyball–basketball courts in each commune in Poland before; the Lodzkie region hosts 178 of these pitches.
Until c.a. 2010, the lack of modern and safe infrastructure for youth sport was one of major obstacles in promoting and developing vitality among children. Investments accomplished under the Orliki programme solved this issue; since then the challenge is rather to make sure of proper use of existing infrastructure.
The „Orlikowa” Champions League (OCL) answers that challenge by organizing a long-term tournament. It also adresses local needs by involving communities and activating their members. The project goes along with the concept of sustainable development as it moves the dynamics of the region until its furthest corners.
The event at the beginning consisted only of a football tournament. Now it became one of the best and most popular sports events in Poland dedicated to children and young people. The „Orlikowa” Champions League is addressed to children and adolescents aged 11-16. Football and handball games take place in two age categories: 11-13 years old and 14-16 years old, volleyball and basketball for junior high school students aged 14-16. Each year, more than 20,000 participants take part in the OCL efforts.
In 2018 , the Marshal’s Office allocated to the project 81,000 EUR via public tenders. The following costs cover the organization and administration. The participation of the youth is free
Evidence of success
• Promoting healthy lifestyle and vitality among children and teenagers, especially in rural communities. Up to 400 tournaments in several sport disciplines were held, on almost all Orlik stadiums in the Lodzkie region.
• Each year, c.a. 20,000 participants takes part in the OCL competitions, mostly not affiliated with any sport clubs. The OCL has become a recognizable brand on at least regional scale. It was also possible to identify people who are predisposed to work in sports professionally
• encouraging the participation of children who were not affiliated with sports clubs and showed little interest in sports activities.
• Weather conditions, which made it impossible to play tournaments on the Orlik stadiums.
• matching the games’ schedule with schooling timetables
Potential for learning or transfer
The given good practice is regarded as potentially interesting for other regions because:
1. it proves that a good use of existing infrastructure by the local communities can be reached,
2. it concerns a universal issue, important in all EU countries (the question of obesity among children)
3. the expenses are relatively low which means that high participation (20k+ annually) can be obtained though basic measures
4. close cooperation with intermediary units (like clubs, sport associations) is a key success factor