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Migrant workers play football outside Presidential Office

2018/07/15 17:08:38

Taipei, July 15 (CNA) Teams composed of migrant workers from Indonesia and Vietnam played in a small football tournament in front of the Presidential Office on Sunday as part of a FIFA World Cup final night event organized by a local TV station.

The two Southeast Asian teams were joined by a team of Japanese in Taipei, another team of foreign nationals, and a local team fielded by Fu Jen Catholic University, in the friendly matches held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Karen Hsu (徐瑞希), secretary-general of the Global Workers' Organization in Taiwan, a co-organizer of the contest, told CNA that the event was held to show that "Taiwan is not the football desert that most people think."

"Though the sport is not as popular as other sports to most Taiwanese, many foreign nationals, including migrant workers from Southeast Asian countries, are big fans of it," she said.

There are more than 750,000 foreign nationals, including blue and white collar workers and students, currently living in Taiwan, Hsu said.

According to her group's estimate, there are around 70 amateur football teams consisting of foreign nationals in Taiwan that practice regularly and play against each other on weekends.

Knowing that football is popular in many Southeast Asian countries, except for the Philippines, where basketball is the national sport, Hsu said her group organized the first international migrant worker football tournament in 2015.

The second edition of the tourney, called the "Taiwan Cup," will be staged at the Xinzhuang Sports Complex this October and feature more teams and players than are participating in the friendlies played Sunday.

Those matches are being held as part of a World Cup Night event in front of the Presidential Office, which will culminate in the airing of the final between France and Croatia on a 450-inch screen set up by the game's broadcaster in Taiwan, Chinese Television System (CTS,華視).

Music and dancing performances are also being staged before the big game.

(By Joseph Yeh)