Associations and clubs recently learned how to apply social responsibility principles to football during a four-day seminar organised by UEFA and St. Gallen University.
Football is not just about winning the next game but also about making a difference in society, and key players in the European game are taking this principle on board.
Representatives from the football associations of Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine, as well as German clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke, all took up UEFA's offer to attend a course aimed at creating a better understanding of social responsibility across European football.
The course emerged from the UEFA workshop on the new UEFA HatTrick incentive for football and social responsibility (FSR) projects, held in February 2016 in Nyon, Switzerland. Staged in November by the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St. Gallen, it included theoretical and practical modules, as well as an individual project element. The course was designed to give participants the tools to develop and implement a social responsibility strategy in their organisation, and respond to current challenges.
Svitlana Shkil, head of international affairs and FIFA/UEFA programmes at the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), shared her views on the course: "Nowadays, expectations not only include good footballing performances and entertainment at the stadiums, but also engagement with different communities, a commitment to sustainability, and leaving a lasting legacy. The course broadened our horizons in terms of what our national association and clubs can do from a corporate social responsibility [CSR] angle."
Meinolf Sprink, director of fans and community affairs at Bayer Leverkusen, added: "It has been fascinating to find out how UEFA, together with several associations and clubs, are dealing with the increasingly important topic of corporate social responsibility. Sharing experiences was the most interesting part of the seminar. In addition, having various experts on board who defined CSR from different angles has been very beneficial."
Participants all received the St. Gallen University's Certificate of Football and Social Responsibility. Further editions of the course will be held in 2017.
National associations and clubs who wish to attend an edition should send an email to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.