Summer, sun, soccer cup


The football world has gone mad since last week: The European Championship has Europe in its grip. Most people have blocked the dates when their country's team is playing to watch in a public viewing area or at home. This football euphoria is crazy. The annual football tournament is also the event of the year at ista. On the first weekend in June, sport-loving ista employees from all over the world gathered together to play football, cheer on their teams and relax.

There are many analyses, studies and experts’ statements dealing with the fascination of football and trying to find out the reason for it. Why this little round ball that generally keeps at least 22 people on the move for 90 minutes has this effect. Why we have been preparing for the European Championships for months, why we decorate our houses, balconies and cars, start betting communities and, in the worst case, even buy little picture cards to collect. But the reason is actually not so important. What really matters is: football bonds people together.

At the annual football event, 1,000 employees from 17 nations met to indulge in their shared passion – football.

It is just the same all over the world. Also at ista. At the annual football event, 1,000 employees from 17 nations met to indulge in their shared passion – football. The weather was as good as the atmosphere – with bright sunshine after several days of continuous rain. Kristian Schröder, Hanover branch manager, was delighted: “With such an event, everything depends on the weather. Somebody was definitely smiling down on us.”

34 teams met in Hanover to compete on the pitch of SC Langenhagen against each other for the challenge cup and the honour of organising the event next year.

Top: The participating teams with their fans before the first kick-off. Bottom left: speed kick winner, Matthias Köhler, with an impressive kicking technique. Bottom middle and right: The fans create a fantastic atmosphere.

No hardship was too great for the football fans as long as they could attend the tournament. Even coach journeys of, in some cases, 12 hours did not put them off. That’s another thing that only football can do. “Of course, our colleagues’ dedication and enthusiasm reward us for all the organisational effort in the run-up to the competition,” says a delighted Kristian Schröder. But the stress of organising it and the tiring journeys were soon forgotten over grilled sausages and French fries. The ball was kicked, players were fouled and the fans cheered on their teams. At half-time, the participants and spectators took the opportunity to test their kicking speed in the “Speed Kick” competition. Matthias Köhler, who supported the Würzburg team with his excellent kicking technique, was the clear winner over his colleagues. With a kick of 123 km/h, he was the day’s undisputed “Ball-kicking King”.

In the end, the Hannover Flamingos won again, beating the Isarkicker from Munich. In the match for third place, the Bonn Devils lost to Player Miglanc from Poland in a penalty shoot-out. But the final winner was actually not so important: whether Swedish, French, Dutch or Turkish, whether Isarkicker or FC Stahl und Stollen – everybody was happy to have met or seen each other again, and experienced the camaraderie. Football did its job yet again and bonded people together.

Picture credit: Oliver Böhm, ista