“SONY Football Circle” At The Home Of FIFA
Focus on corporate social responsibility
The focus was on corporate social responsibility at the “SONY Football Circle” at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 7 May 2008. Many invited guests from the worids of sports, politics and culture gathered together in a relaxed atmosphere in the auditorium at FIFA’s headquarters on a hill overlooking Zurich to listen to presentations by the guest speakers.
Following a welcome address by host ClaudioAmmann, CEO of SONY Overseas SA, Lander Unzueta, director of the FC Barcelona foundation, gave an insight into the social activities carried out by a top international club. The Catalan outfit are the only club worldwide not to have shirt sponsors, choosing instead to sport the logo of UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s fund. Barcelona donates EUR five million every year to the organization to support and promote its projects, and their motto – “More than a club” – illustrates their commitment to social responsibility. “Behind the badge beats a heart,” concluded Unzueta, quoting the club’s Swiss founder Joan Gamper.
Federico Addiechi, head of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department at FIFA, then outlined the situation from a global football organisation’s perspective, explaining that the governing body’s mission was based on three pillars: “Develop the game, touch the world, and build a better future.” Addiechi revealed that 0.7 per cent of FIFA’s total earnings is devoted to CSR. He also gave a detailed description of Football for Hope which is the key element of a strategic alliance with streetfootballworld supporting worldwide projects in which football is used to reach social developments. “Founded in 2005, the Football for Hope Movement already consists of 70 programmes in 47 countries,” said Addiechi.
Later in a podium discussion, Peter Kenyon, CEO of leading English club Chelsea, and Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of the Swiss watch manufacturers Hublot, detailed the social programmes of their respective companies. ” Football is a great means of doing good,” said Kenyon, “but the problem is that while football in general does do a lot of good, it gets very little publicity for it.” Kenyon also explained that “there is no basic approach which works for everyone. It is all about the fundamental principle that words need to be followed up with deeds.”
Jean-Claude Biver went a step further, saying that we are now in the “century of sharing”, and adding that “as a luxury brand, we need to start sharing”. Hublot is the official timekeeper of UEFA EURO 2008, but Biver was proud to announce that the company will not carry out any advertising. “The boards around the pitch will not carry the name “Hublot” but instead have the statement “Fight against Racism” on them,” he said. To conclude the event, which was attended by stars such as Olympic gold-medal-winning ski-jumper Simon Ammann and former Swiss international Stephane Chapuisat, the guests were treated to a delightful interview with Swiss coach Jakob “Kobi” Kuhn conducted by reigning Miss Switzerland Amanda Ammann.
Kuhn discussed the forthcoming EURO finals on home soil and gave a glimpse into his future plans. “I’ve decided that I want to be in charge of my own time again. I can categorically state that I will no longer coach at the highest level, but it may be that I get involved in youth development,” he said.
The evening illustrated how important social commitment is not only to large global firms but also to international federations in terms of improving the quality of life of those who are socially underprivileged.