Leading Global Law Firm Baker McKenzie has welcomed almost 400 colleagues from over 30 countries to Northern Ireland, as it hosts the firm's annual football tournament, known as The Fluency Cup.

More than 30 teams from countries including Japan, Brazil and Canada arrived in Belfast for the tournament, which took place over the weekend. Over 160 matches were played at V36, the state of the art third generation football pitches in Newtownabbey, with Belfast's legal team winning the Fluency Cup during Sunday's final against London 2-1. The cup was presented by Stephen Baxter, manager of the 2018 NIFL Danske Bank Premiership, Crusaders.

Now in it's 16th year, this is the first time that Baker McKenzie has hosted the Fluency Cup tournament in Northern Ireland, and the first time that Belfast has won the trophy. Previous host cities have included Milan, Brussels and Berlin. James Richards, Executive Director of Baker McKenzie's Belfast office said,

"We're delighted to welcome our colleagues to Northern Ireland, and proud to showcase Belfast  to them. Personal friendships are the bedrock of our firm and bind together our 78 offices around the World The Fluency Cup is a great opportunity for us to catch up with colleagues and build relationships.

"I would also like to thank Invest NI, Visit Belfast and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for their support and guidance to us in organising this event. The feedback we have received from our teams about their visit to Northern Ireland has been exceptional and I look forward to welcoming them back again in the future."

Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI said, "Baker McKenzie’s successful global services centre in Belfast is already a ringing endorsement of what Northern Ireland has to offer as an international investment location. Hosting the firm’s team-based global event also helps put Northern Ireland on map as a go-to location for major corporate events. With some 400 players visiting, the event will provide a real boost to the local economy."

Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast said: “Belfast has received an increasing number of travel related accolades recently positing it firmly on the world map, from being voted the trendiest European City for Business Travel to Lonely Planet pinpointing the city as the number one region to visit in 2018.  Belfast is a city resurgent and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by global companies planning corporate events, notably Baker McKenzie.  We hope the 400 participants in The Fluency Cup had an enjoyable and memorable stay in Belfast.”

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