European Football Teams of Winemakers kick off with a variety of ideas on wine, football and education
Headquarters at Hochschule Geisenheim University – resolution on European symposium and scholarship
All eight participating nations in UENFW, the Union of European National Football Teams of Winemakers (Verband der europäischen Fußballnationalmannschaften der Winzer e.V. – www.unefw.com), gathered in the town hall the Czech city of Znojmo in mid-November for its first official general meeting. The focus was on planning VINOEURO 2020, the European winegrowers' football championship, which will be held in Znojmo, Mikulov and Uherské Hradiště. The final will take place on May 23, 2020 in the Miroslav Valenta Municipal Stadium in Uherské Hradiště. The patron is Miroslav Kadlec, still very well known in the Palatinate region as a former Bundesliga player for 1. FC Kaiserslautern. In the preliminary round, the German team will face Italy, Switzerland, and defending champions Slovenia. Sports director and team manager Michael Apitz, otherwise known for his art, and co-trainer Jürgen Fladung, vice-president of SV Wehen Wiesbaden, say that this is a very difficult group, but they still want to focus on winning the title. WEINELF were the runners-up twice at the European Championships; in 2014 they won the European Championship in Switzerland with a 3:2 victory over Hungary. The team was awarded the Deutsche Weinkritik prize in 2018.
UENFW was founded in 2018 with the aim of enhancing the organization of the cultural assets of wine, football and education at a European level. The focus is not only testing each other’s skills on the pitch, but also on enjoying great wine together at celebrations after the match. In this context, a partnership with the European "Wine in moderation" program is well received and supported.
In spring UENFW Honorary President Dr. Franz Josef Jung, General Secretary Erica Fischbach and President Robert Lönarz had the opportunity to visit EU Commissioner Günter Oettinger in Brussels to discuss key issues relating to the development of the Union. Applications to participate in European programs are pending.
“We have taken an important step forward,” said President Robert Lönarz on the outcome of the almost four-hour conference. In addition to football and wine, education will also be a key element of VINOEURO going forward. In this regard, UENFW will invite researchers from all eight countries to establish a European symposium on topical issues for winemakers. In 2020 experts from, among others, Geisenheim, Brno, Pisa, Lisbon, Wädenswil and Maribor will be working on the topic of climate change. A related excursion and a football match against Brno University of Technology are also being planned by Geisenheim students.
“We are particularly proud of the unanimous decision to award a European UENFW scholarship,” added Lönarz. The scholarship will awarded to take place during each VINOEURO and will provide young people with a two-week, free-of-charge insight into top universities and leading businesses in currently eight European countries. “We want to pass on the diversity and knowledge acquired through our active friendship in the wine industry in Europe to young people. As winegrowers, we play football for our home countries, but we are all committed Europeans sharing in the great cultural assets of wine, football and education.”