The friendly football matches in Vienna/Austria took place from May 1st to May 4th and was organized by the Tibetan Society of Austria (TGOE), supported by a number of Austrian and international celebrities who made the event possible.
Day one kicked off with a press conference including both local and international media. German actor Ralph Bauer and Rocker Karl Kinsky were present to show their support. The National Austrian broadcaster ORF reported live from the event as did several other television stations. Group photos of the Tibet National Team were in order and the players along with their trainer Kelsang Dhondup were interviewed by the press. Players from the Viennese Football Teams stressed that 'fair play' does not only apply in sports but is also imperative in day to day life. The Tibetan and the Austrian teams want to reiterate the fact that human rights are basic elements for living together in peace.
The TIBET 21 Project which is an ad hoc platform created to galvanize independent activism in support of Tibetan people in their struggle for autonomy was launched by Francesca Habsburg this day. It is a space of solidarity, advocacy and concern; an initiative supported by artists, filmmakers, athletes, and media experts based in Austria. TIBET 21 seeks to gather ideas and endorse the realization of projects which address the urgency of the Tibetan crisis in wake of the Olympic Games in Beijing and thereafter, by leaning on the expertise, talent, contacts and means of expression of its supporters. It is a networking platform linking initiatives from all around the world to those possible in Austria. This project is a substantial support for all Tibetans and not only Austrians.
Several celebrities, such as Dorretta Carter (Jazz, Funk and Soul Singer) and Zabine Kapfinger (Austrian Singer/'Dancing Star' Winner) came to enjoy the match. After a traditional Snow Lion dance followed by Austrian hymns, Eva Glawischnig, 3rd President of the Austrian Parliament's Green Party inaugurated the first match between Tibetan National Team and Vienna Club Victoria Sun Company. The Vienna Club VSC took the game 4:1 but Tibet National Team won the hearts of the spectators. The trophy was handed over by Dr. Lopatka, Secretary of State for Sports (Popular Party).
During the course of the match, Tibetan stalls were seen doing brisk business selling eateries and items such as the Tibetan Flag and 'Free Tibet' T-shirts. One of the sponsors drove across the field with a Tibetan Flag during half time.
The second friendly match was played May 3 in Stadlau/Vienna, Tibet National Team vs. FC Stadlau. Francesca Habsburg and Tseten Zoechbauer spoke to visitors and the press. After a traditional song and dance routine again followed by Austrian hymns by Dorretta Carter, the match started with the two highly motivated teams. In the end FC Stadlau won 6:1.
In the meantime, the Organizing Committee of TGOE (Tibetan Society of Austria) was arranging a party/charity event at the Palais Auersperg. Make shift stalls for exhibiting and selling jewelry were organized with the stands being donned with flowers and Tibetan flags. The Palais Auersperg was sponsored by Francesca Habsburg, who is a strong supporter of the Tibetan community.
The party (Spotlight on Tibet) started at 7.30 pm with TIBET LIVE. The Tibetan Culture Club Switzerland presented traditional Tibetan masked dances and celebrities such as Hubertus von Hohenlohe (German royal family), Nana Debary (Society Lady) and Desirée Treichl-Stürgkh (Publisher of HOME magazine and Vienna Opera Ball organizer) made their presence felt. After a traditional Tibetan buffet dinner, Karl´s Kitchen (Indie Rock Band) and DJ Electric Indigo and Friends kept the crowd swaying until the wee hours of the morning.
The next day saw the Tibet National Team on a sightseeing tour to Lower Austria organized by the Austrian Tibetans. The team is scheduled to leave for other European countries for successive football matches.Edited by Tenzin Sangmo/Phayul.com.