Emdad Rahman: Chestnut Grove Academy School in Balham became the unlikely venue for a new world record as sixteen inspirational friends came together to do just that.
In an attempt to raise £30,000 for Football Beyond Borders the two teams commenced playing 5 aside football at 8pm on Wednesday 26th October. The #FBBWorldRecord crew began an audacious attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest ever continuous 5-a-side match on the planet – with the finish planned for Saturday 29th at 8pm.
The entire match was recorded and refereed by FA-qualified refs, to be reviewed by GWR officials after.
The previous record had stood at just over 70 hours, which is almost 3 continuous days of football.
The two teams, with a maximum of 8 in each squad took on, completed and surpassed the challenge. The action was recorded for official review and a live stream was set up on a dedicated Facebook page. Organiser Theo Strong had put the gravity of the challenge in perspective: "Each player will run around 150 miles, get 6-9 hours of sleep and score 30 goals in the 72 hour period," he said prior to the attempt.
Referees Abdal Ahmed and Emdad Rahman took over the last four hours of proceedings as the long awaited countdown began with a vocal crowd shouting down the numbers. A mini pitch invasion by players and officials ensued as everyone mobbed each other in sheer joy. The game wasn't over and to put some daylight between the new and old records both teams continued full throttle for another two hours.
At the final whistle captain and organiser Theo Strong said, "Its unbelievable. We never doubted we would fail in our mission. We were focussed and resilient throughout. It's the craziest thing I've ever done in my life. Well done everybody. Thank you to all our volunteers - record keepers, helpers and referees for donating their time."
Tom Perez, Head of Communications at Football Beyond Borders added, "I think we can sum it up in one word - Epic. It's been an epic challenge.
"The teams have broken the World Record and raised thousands of pounds for Football Beyond Borders. We use the power of football and the passion that young people have for football and put that at the heart of their education.
"The only doubt I had was in the first ninety minutes which had me thinking how the boys would maintain that pace. But at no point has anyone withered. No grumblings, no let up. The boys have prepared well, ate well, looked after themselves and some have even take part in football marathons. And seventy plus hours on, they were still motivated and scoring goals. It's something we will never forget."
Referee Abdal Ahmed concluded: "Emdad and I are honoured to have officiated in this historic game. The players have been brilliant, the volunteers tireless and the crowds vociferous. Well done everybody."
Football Beyond Borders (FBB) is an education charity which uses football as an engagement tool to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
FBB uses football to create a more equal and inclusive society in which young people from low income backgrounds have the opportunity to develop the skills, attitude and character to succeed in education, work and public life.
To donate visit https://www.pledgit.net/campaign/9RTdzX/fbb-world-record-challenge