GLASGOW Rangers have declared their interest in making a debut appearance in Derry’s 2013 City of Culture Foyle Cup tournament the ‘Journal’ has learned.
The Scottish giants are understood to have made contact with tournament organisers this week enquiring about the possibility of an under-15 age group entry in this year’s event.
Over the past number of years more and more Scottish clubs have been involved with the Foyle Cup tournament with Celtic, Hearts, St Johnstone, Hibernian, Aberdeen, Motherwell and Kilmarnock all taking part in recent competitions.
Therefore it would prove a major coup for tournament organisers should Rangers decide to enter a team to compete in this year’s tournament, particularly during the City of Culture celebrations.
Tournament organiser, Michael Hutton yesterday confirmed that the Operations Manager at Ibrox had been in touch to discuss the possibility of an entry from Rangers FC.
“Rangers have been in touch about bringing a team to this year’s event,” revealed Mr Hutton. “They are interested in competing at U15 level. I know that Rangers may not be competing in the Scottish Premier League at the moment, but they remain one of the biggest clubs in Britain and I know their N.Ireland fans will be delighted to see the team compete for honours in this year’s event.
“We are delighted that they have chosen to showcase their youth talent in the Foyle Cup tournament.”
The growth in the Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup has been significant. In 2011, 132 teams entered the competition while 2012 witnessed the highest ever entry of 164 teams and it looks as the entry closing date approaches, that up to 180 teams will compete in this UK City of Culture year event.
The tournament caters for entries from U10 to U17 and has an U19 and Ladies tournament as well.
“When one thinks about the effect the recession is having on spending power not just throughout Ireland and the UK but globally - it is remarkable to note that each year our entries increase,” added Mr Hutton.
“The interest in our event and our city comes from all over the world. At the moment it would appear we will have at least four teams travelling from as far away as Canada and America to compete and possibly four teams from South Africa.
“Each year the event generates in excess of 10,000 bed-nights and an ever increasing amount of spending in the local economy, at a time of the year when visitor numbers had previously been quite low. “
The Hughes Insurance Foyle Cup will be held in Derry City, Strabane and Limavady Council areas from July 22nd to July 27th.
Details regarding this year’s event can be found on the tournament website at www.foylecup.com or telephone 02871359734.