The 37th edition of the Valley Parade Memorial Tournament is set to kick off at the Marley Activities & Coaching Centre in Keighley this weekend, on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st of March.

Teams from Bradford City, Lincoln City, and several local clubs will be participating in the under-12 and under-14 categories. Additionally, Hamm, a team from Germany, will be joining once again to compete in the tournament.

This annual event, now in its 37th year, serves as a poignant tribute to the 56 individuals who tragically lost their lives in the fire disaster at Bradford City AFC’s Valley Parade ground during a match against Lincoln City FC on May 11th, 1985.

The tournament’s inception dates back to the Easter period of 1986, emerging in response to the harrowing events of May 11th, 1985. On that fateful day, 56 individuals, including 11 children, perished in the fierce blaze that swept through part of the stadium.

On Sunday afternoon, the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Gerry Barker, will grace the event with his presence to witness the final matches. He will also have the honour of presenting commemorative medals to all under-14 players and the trophy to the winning team.

In a gesture of goodwill, Bradford City AFC is generously providing tickets for their League 2 clash with Tranmere Rovers on Good Friday to all participating teams. Ahead of the football tournament, young players from Hamm and Bingley Juniors, their gracious hosts for the weekend, will have the opportunity to attend this fixture.

Organised by Bradford Council’s Community Sport & Activities Development Unit, the tournament receives unwavering support from the Prison Officers Association, with John Boddington MBE representing them over the weekend.

The action-packed weekend will commence with games on the synthetic pitch at 9 am on Saturday and 8:45 am on Sunday. Prior to the commencement of matches, a minute’s silence will be observed in honour of the victims of the Valley Parade fire disaster on May 11th, 1985.

Beyond the competitive spirit, the tournament aims to foster camaraderie through football. To this end, a fair play trophy will be awarded on both days, based on feedback from match officials.