Bradford Council’s annual Valley Parade Memorial Tournament takes place at Marley Activities and Coaching Centre in Keighley on Saturday 8 and Sunday April 9.
The tournament has been held every year since 1986 to commemorate the 56 people who lost their lives in the fire disaster at Bradford City’s Valley Parade ground during a match with Lincoln City FC on 11 May 1985.
The first Tournament took place over the Easter period in 1986 and came about as a result of the tragic events which unfolded at Bradford City Football Ground on May 11th 1985 when sadly 56 people (11 of whom were children) lost their lives in the ferocious fire that engulfed part of the Stadium.
Teams from Bradford City, Lincoln City and a host of local junior clubs will play along with Hamm who is travelling across from Germany to take part again for the first time since 2019.
Ryan Sparks the Chief Executive of Bradford City FC will be attending on Saturday morning and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Martin Love will be attending on Sunday afternoon.
The tournament, which takes place over the Easter weekend, is organised by Bradford Council’s Community Sport & Activities Development Unit and supported as always by the Prison Officers Association it will be represented over the weekend by John Boddington MBE.
Games commence on the synthetic pitch at 9am on Saturday and 8.45am on Sunday following a minute’s silence by all players, coaches and match officials, in memory of all those affected by the fire disaster at Valley Parade on 11 May 1985.
The final on both days is held at 2.30pm followed by a presentation of individual medals to every player from the teams who took part each day.
The spirit of the event is to promote friendship through football and a team fair play trophy is awarded on both days, based on the feedback given from the match officials who very kindly give up their spare time to officiate at all the games across the weekend.
Every participant takes home a medal regardless of where they finish the tournament.
Bradford Council’s Assistant Director for Sport and Culture Phil Barker, said: “This popular event continues to be a fitting tribute to those who were affected by the tragedy at Valley Parade in 1985, ensuring that they will never be forgotten.
“The focus, as in previous years, is on bringing people together through football, taking part, having fun and playing the game in the spirit of friendship.
“It also helps us to not only remember the past but also celebrate the future of football in Bradford and the district.”
Ryan Sparks, Chief Executive Officer at Bradford City AFC, said: “This is an important date in our calendar every year, with a fantastic event bringing so many people together in the lead-up to the anniversary of the Valley Parade Fire Disaster on May 11. After the tournament was able to return in its traditional form last year, after an extended lay-off as a result of the pandemic, we are all pleased to be here again this weekend, creating special memories and friendships formed through the collective tributes to the 56 lives tragically lost.”