Some of the football industry's finest will return to the WFS stage once more.

Football industry’s finest return at WFS Live for post-coronavirus panel

Football industry’s finest return at WFS Live for post-coronavirus panel 2416 1667 WFS Live

The second edition of WFS Live will see the return of one of our most popular panels as we get the band back together once more to bring some of the football industry’s finest to the stage: Ricardo Fort (Coca-Cola), Peter Hutton (Facebook), Ralf Reichert (ESL) and Luis Vicente (Eleven Sports).

The quartet will look at sport post-covid in a panel titled: Venturing into 2021 with confidence in what is sure to be a good humoured, insightful and unpredictable part of our WFS Live programme, although one thing is for certain; Fort will produce a bottle of Coca-Cola.

This will be the third time that these industry experts have come together in a virtual WFS space, with their debut appearance coming at our Talking Sport series in partnership with Eleven Sports back in May when the football industry was first coming to terms with coronavirus.

There, Vicente’s words proved prophetic when you see the English Premier League’s introduction of a pay-per-view broadcasting model.

He said: “I think the gaming industry models will be a massive influence for the traditional sports industry, because I really believe that micro-subscriptions will be key. Digital micro-transactions in pay-per-view will be essential and advertising will become more robust.”

Reichert also spoke on how gaming and eSports were big winners during that period as traditional sports leveraged the space with no live sport of their own to engage with.

“To grow 20% in this time in games is really shitty,” commented Reichert. “Most of these companies have grown 100-300%. Amateur tournaments have grown 5x compared to one year ago, while the viewership for eSports tournaments has grown 3x. Gaming is the big beneficiary of this.”

Both were back when WFS Live launched in July, as was Hutton whose insight into the world’s biggest social media platform was fascinating as he told us how Facebook is looking to make content more discoverable.

Hutton said: “I think it’s important that we make it easier and easier for people to find relevant content and you’ll see a huge area of curation coming into Facebook now, as well as a clear focus on how you get to the content you care about.”

Completing the lineup is Fort, who this year was named as one of our WFS Icon Speakers thanks to his mixture of good humour, ambush marketing and vast knowledge of sponsorship that he brings to the WFS stage. As evidenced by Fort’s assessment of the changing relationship between sponsors and content as a result of this global pandemic.

“The experience of watching football with empty venues is not the best but that content can be very helpful for brands to tell stories elsewhere” said Fort. “We have to use it in different, more creative ways, through digital platforms,.”

This group are must-watch, compulsive viewing so make sure you don’t miss out on their trilogy panel when we bring the band back together at day two of #WFSLive on Tuesday, 24 November.

Common Goal’s Jürgen Griesbeck: “Now is the moment to shape the future we want for football”

Common Goal’s Jürgen Griesbeck: “Now is the moment to shape the future we want for football” 1200 675 WFS Live

The football we want, the game we need! These eight words will form the spine of WFS LIVE‘s opening day, as WFS and Common Goal team up to invite football’s stakeholders and decision makers to reimagine the industry over the next decade.

Driven by the ambition of maximising football’s positive impact on society, all day one panels will set out to provide an answer to a question crucial to the sport’s future: How can we embed purpose at the heart of the game?

A month ahead of the event, we talked to Common Goal co-founder Jürgen Griesbeck to know more about how the WFS Live programme is being shaped, the key topics that will be addressed, and the specific goals that we’re aiming to achieve as we look to turn discussion into action and instigate a turning point for the industry.

Jürgen Griebeck (l.) and Common Goal have been central figures at WFS events since our inception.

Q. Common Goal reacted very quickly to coronavirus, launching the Common Goal Covid-19 Response Fund which aims to deliver essential support services to vulnerable youth not only during the pandemic but also afterwards. Can you give us an update on how the fund is going and the work that your partner organisations are carrying out?

A. The COVID-19 crisis has put the world in an unprecedented situation. More than ever, we realised how vulnerable we are and the need for a collective response. With Common Goal, we had a mechanism that enabled us to provide a rapid response, given our existing network of community organisations and our community of members and partners from the football industry, including players, managers and other stakeholders such as World Football Summit

Since the start of the pandemic, we have supported around 40 football for good organisations working across the globe with two different projects: the Common Goal COVID-19 Fund, with a global reach; and the Common Ground project, with a focus in Germany. The principle behind it all being: support young people who are in a situation of vulnerability and for whom the crisis has amplified existing challenges such as poverty, lack of access to education, essential services, safe spaces, and being exposed to gender violence and forced migration.

Such efforts were done through our network of community organisations, who, in addition to implementing football for good programmes for young people as their “day to day activities”, represent an important form of support for young people, families, and their local communities – and are at the center of the community development. This has been of crucial importance during the crisis, especially for young people who have seen a halt in services and measures that had previously provided a sense of home and reliable relationship structures.

Q. Since 2017, Common Goal and World Football Summit have jointly promoted football as a force for good, but for the coming WFS Live you’re going to take a step forward and devote a full day to the ambitious objective of embedding social purpose in the industry’s agenda for the future. Why have you decided to take this step now, when the industry is experiencing one of its biggest ever crisis?

A. Since the launch of Common Goal, the support from World Football Summit has been remarkable, both with WFS becoming a member of Common Goal in 2017 but also always providing a space for Common Goal and believing in the vision we have for football. 

Now is the moment to discuss and shape the future we want for the football industry and take action. Not only because of the crisis of the football industry but rather because with the current global crisis we have realised how vulnerable we are a society, and how interconnected we are. We have a responsibility to act together as a global community, as a collective, and football, as the biggest cultural phenomenon on earth, has the responsibility and opportunity to be a big part of it. World Football Summit is creating a space to enable these discussions to happen and we are thrilled to help shape these discussions and the way forward in cooperation with institutions, athletes, the corporate world and the football community as a whole. 

Q. Football is a global industry that cuts across so many different sectors and involves a wide range of stakeholders. Which stakeholders do you think have a more important role to play in the objective of shifting from a CSR approach to really embedding purpose in the industry’s DNA? 

A. Instead of pointing fingers towards a specific stakeholder group, I think rather we all need to take responsibility. 

The football industry has developed into an economic powerhouse, with double digit percentage growth – even during the global financial crisis and despite a massive reputational crisis. But such a model is not sustainable in a world where, more and more people are concerned about the sustainability of our planet, the social and economic gap… especially new generations of young people who are, for the first time, looking at how purpose-driven and socially responsible the brands they consume or their employers are. COVID-19 has reinforced the need for a shift towards a purpose-driven economy, and football won’t be an exception. Now, who is responsible to enable this shift? In essence everyone. 

This moment of tangible crisis has inspired activism among athletes and has also challenged the corporate world to take an authentic stand in regards to their contribution to people and planet. The global fan community is also voicing this need in a number of ways. 

Actions that athletes, the corporate world and fans are taking can have a ripple effect and accelerate things. But we need the commitment of institutions, which are moving at a slower pace and still remain in an ad-hoc or CRS style system when it comes to driving and implementing socially conscious initiatives.

Q. At the coming WFS Live you will be inviting the industry stakeholders to reimagine the football industry with the vision on 2030. Do you think the industry can agree on an Agenda featuring a number of objectives similar to the UN Sustainability Agenda?

A. I think the industry doesn’t need to define a new agenda or a new set of objectives but rather use the UN Sustainability Agenda as the framework to define its purpose and vision for the future. When it comes to the future well-being of our society and the sustainability of our planet, the football industry cannot act in isolation.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the blueprint to achieving a better future for all – and the key question is how we can embed it into the fabric and culture of football in a meaningful way. This means rethinking football over the next 10 years with the ambition of driving progress towards the Global Goals, instead of taking profit as its guiding principle and as the main indicator of success. 

Q. The theme chosen for this first day of conferences is “the football we want, the game we need”. Football has been used as a very efficient tool to drive development and social change across the world for a long time. What does this fast-changing society need and how can football support?

A. We are facing a global crisis, even before COVID-19, where issues related to social justice and the sustainability of our planet are increasing at an alarming rate. Everyone at this stage is aware of how interconnected we are, but we haven’t yet fully acknowledged how interdependent we are as a society.

The current crisis has shown that to face global challenges we need to promote and live up to values of community, inclusivity, togetherness and individual responsibility; actually values at the core of football as a team sport. It is by bringing those values forward in the way we imagine football, that football can also play a leading role in this critical decade of action. 

Q. One of the main objectives for this event is turning discussions into actions. What are the actions that football ought to take with utmost urgency in your opinion?

A. With Common Goal we believe that the best way to start was the 1% pledge. The 1% is a symbol of what can be achieved through team play. Everyone can contribute and, while it is a small individual effort, it can generate a great impact. And it provides the opportunity for the football industry to embed purpose in a very simple systemic way that can be adopted by everyone. It can become part of football’s re-wired DNA.

The 1% also represents an opportunity not only because it enables the industry to embed purpose at its core, but because it can lead an example for other sectors and for society as a whole to follow and make contribution “the new normal”. And here we are not only talking about 1% as a pledge or as a donation, we are talking about 1% of time, for example, that fans could donate in contribution to our people and our planet. Setting a new path, changing the mindset, redefining what success is for us as a team, as a society, as humanity.

Tickets are now on sale for November’s WFS Live event, with 10% of all sales going towards Common Goal’s fight against coronavirus, and are available via THIS LINK.

Jordan Gardner: “American soccer needs major improvement to catch Europe”

Jordan Gardner: “American soccer needs major improvement to catch Europe” 960 580 WFS Live

Jordan Gardner is an American entrepreneur who has undertaken a variety of investments in European football, and is co-owner of Danish side F.C. Helsingor.

With Gardner one of the first confirmed speakers for WFS Livetaking place from November 23-27 – we caught up with him to discuss his investments and vision for the football industry.

Q. Why did you choose to invest in Denmark and F.C. Helsingor in particular?
A. Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time on the ground in Europe, understanding the landscape and trying to learn from the mistakes made by prior American ownership groups over there. I’ve made several strategic minority investments into football clubs (Swansea City AFC and Dundalk FC), and eventually decided the time was right to buy a controlling interest of a club. Denmark was an attractive market, as almost everyone speaks English, there’s very few foreign player restrictions and there is a culture of playing (and selling) young players. FC Helsingør in particular was an attractive club, as it had very recently been in the Danish SuperLiga, had a new stadium under construction and was in good geographic proximity to Copenhagen.

Q. What are the main challenges that you’ve faced until now?
A. Once we took over, it was very challenging to change the culture at a club that had been losing for so long, and had gone through two relegations in a row. We felt it was very important change the entire leadership of the club both on and off the field, including many of the players. Once we made those changes, we saw a huge positive shift in the environment at the club, which ultimately culminated in our league championship and promotion last season.

Q. How would you evaluate the results you have reached up to now and what is your long-term objective there?
A. The project has been an unqualified success so far. We won the Danish 2nd Division last season and got promoted. This season, we are 4-2 so far having beaten three clubs already with significantly higher budgets and players wage bills than us. Our goals are to finish top 6 this season, and challenge for a top 2 spot and promotion to the Danish SuperLiga.

Q. How has COVID-19 affected your plans at FC Helsingor? How are you facing the challenges the pandemic has presented to your business?
A. There have been significant limitations on stadium capacity at our home matches, which has adversely affected our match day revenues. Beyond that, the COVID related travel restrictions has affected our ability to bring in foreign players.

Q. Do you think that European soccer is getting closer to the American model conceiving sport mostly as an entertainment business?
A. No, I think European soccer is still very, very far away from an American style model. The sport in Europe is more culturally ingrained, cultivated over generations. People in Europe (in general), do not support clubs or attend events for entertainment value in a way they do in North America.

Q. Do you believe that a European Super League that resembles the NBA (a closed championship with only the best teams/franchises involved) will ever be a reality? Would it be desirable for the market? 
In a sense, the Champions League is a form of a European Super League. It’s certainly possible the top clubs may split off at some to form their own ‘league’ but I don’t think it’s necessary with competitions like the Champions League in place. Ultimately, the biggest clubs will do whatever they can to capture the most television/media revenue and if that means forming a Super League they will do that.

Q. The industry of American soccer is experiencing a constant growth and keeps attracting new investors. Do you see it reaching the influence of European soccer in a near future?
A. No, soccer still lags significantly behind other major sports in the United States, and even European soccer far outpaces American soccer in interest and viewership. American soccer will need major improvement in on-field quality, and off-field relevance to even approach the influence of European soccer for the foreseeable future.

Jordan Gardner: Supporters Helsingor Stadion

A bit Danish and a bit American: this is Jordan Gardner’s Helsingor.

Q. Is this the reason why many Americans like you still prefer to invest in Europe rather than in the US?
A. European soccer offers a very different investment profile for Americans than North America. With the promotion / relegation system, there is an opportunity to buy a smaller club and add expertise and value to get that club promoted. There is also a robust player transfer market in Europe that does not exist in North America. American soccer is a more secure investment, with a franchise model. However, currently the television viewership and general interest is quite low compared to European soccer while the price points in Europe continue to be more attractive.

Q. You have been announced as one of the guest speakers at the upcoming WFS Live, which aims to bring the industry stakeholders together to draw football’s roadmap for the future. What changes do you think are most needed to ensure that the game’s future is at least as bright as its past?
A. I think there needs to be significant changes in the way money flows to players and agents in the sport. Many clubs spend well beyond their means, and beyond any justifiable revenue that they have coming in. I’m not sure if a more ‘salary cap’ type structure like those proposed in the U.K. are the solution, but the spending is just not sustainable especially in light of massive reductions in revenues due to the pandemic.

Tickets are now available HERE for WFS Live, with 10% of all sales going to Common Goal.

Johan Cruyff Institute x WFS renew long-term Academic Partnership

Johan Cruyff Institute x WFS renew long-term Academic Partnership 1269 713 WFS Live

World Football Summit is delighted to announce that Johan Cruyff Institute have renewed as Academic Partners for the second edition of WFS Live from November 23-27.

Johan Cruyff Institute has been with WFS from the very beginning and have been pivotal partners in our success since our first event in Madrid back in 2016. They have consistently underlined the need for professional athletes to continue with their academic education in order to face the challenges of life after playing, through their work and on the WFS stage.

This has been the main principle of the institution founded by iconic football legend Johan Cruyff, an inspiring leader and one of the most influential figures in sporting history. Cruyff firmly believed that no one was better suited to serve sport’s best interests than someone with the heart of an athlete, but he was also convinced that in order to fulfil that role athletes needed to improve their education.

Back at the WFS debut in 2016, Johan Cruyff Institute exhibited a stand in our Expo Area and also delivered a fascinating Industry Talk with former Olympian Dutch hockey player Carole Thale, who is also manager of The World of Johan Cruyff.

A year later, the partnership between the two companies was strengthened further as Johan Cruyff Institute signed on as Academic Partners of the 2017 World Football Summit. They have been a perfectly fitting partner ever since, raising awareness of the importance of education in sport.

The Institute’s message was again brought to the World Football Summit in 2018, with former footballers Victor Baía, Roberto Martinez and Jorge Valdano heading a panel, titled: ‘The day after’, that explored the reality of retirement for professional footballers and the options available to them after they stop playing.

In 2019, Johan Cruyff Institute jumped on board as WFS went on its first international expansion, performing a key role as exhibitors in the WFS Asia Expo Area in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Later that year, another stellar Johan Cruyff Institute headline panel brought Ivan Alonso, Christian Karembeu, Shabnam Mobarez, Louis Saha and Rebecca Smith to the WFS stage in Madrid as they again looked at the importance of education for players to establish careers after they hang up their boots.

Johan Cruyff Institute renewed as Academic Partners for WFS Africa, WFS Asia and WFS20 at the end of 2019 and despite all three falling victim to coronavirus, the bond hasn’t been broken. 

As highlighted by WFS director, Marian Otamendi: “We’ve been on this journey together since the very beginning of WFS, and to continue growing alongside JCI fills us with excitement and gratitude.”

With events forced online, WFS Live was created to bring the football industry together for the biggest event of the year and Johan Cruyff Institute were again Academic Partners for our digital debut. They also brought to the table an already iconic WFS panel, featuring Juan Pablo Caffa, Natalia Gaitan and Juan Sebastián Verón.

Going into the second edition of WFS Live, Johan Cruyff Institute have renewed as Academic Partners once more, with JCI’s Cristina Palés previously saying: “As a brand committed to the sports industry through education, for Johan Cruyff Institute it is key to be a part of this congress and contribute to strategic discussions.”

Tickets are now on sale for November’s WFS Live event and are available via THIS LINK.

WFS Live completes first five stellar new signings for second edition

WFS Live completes first five stellar new signings for second edition 1800 1013 WFS Live

The transfer window may have closed across Europe this week, but that hasn’t stopped World Football Summit from dipping into the market to make five big name signings for the return of WFS Live from November 23-27.

Chip Bowers (Elevate Sport Ventures), Paul Bragiel (Bragiel Brothers), Professor Simon Chadwick (EM Lyon Business School), Jordan Gardner (FC Helsingør) and Mary Harvey (Sports Human Rights) become the first confirmed speakers for the second edition of our digital event that kicked-off in July.

The quintet will lead a series of announcements over the coming weeks, which will unveil both our full lineup of speakers and event programme.

They each bring with them a wealth of experience from across the football industry that we are excited to see shared with the WFS community across the WFS Live platform next month.

Chip Bowers (Elevate Sport Ventures):

  • Bowers is president of Elevate Sport Ventures, a best-in-class sports and entertainment consulting firm, providing proven, innovative solutions to organisations across the global sports and entertainment landscape. He has also worked in senior roles at the likes of Golden State Warriors, Miami Marlins and Orlando Magic.

Paul Bragiel (Bragiel Brothers):

  • Bragiel is a managing partner at Bragiel Brothers, an early stage venture fund founded by him and brother Dan in San Francisco. The venture capital and private equity company lists the likes of Shipbob, Varjo, Drip Capital, Rare Bits, Siren Care and Ride Report as notable companies they have worked with.

Professor Simon Chadwick (Emlyon Business School):

  • Professor Chadwick is director of Eurasian sport and professor of the Eurasian sport industry at Emlyon Business School in France. He is an eminent figure in sports industry academics, featuring in some of the biggest publications in the world, and working with organisations such as FC Barcelona, UEFA, and Adidas.

Jordan Gardner (FC Helsingør):

  • Gardner is chairman, managing director, and co-owner of Danish club FC Helsingør. His investment portfolio also includes a minority stake in Swansea City, co-ownership of Dundalk FC, and investment into a group bidding on an A-League side in Australia. He was also previously vice president at digital media company JUGOtv.

Mary Harvey (Centre for Sport and Human Rights):

  • Harvey is CEO of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, which aims to unify governments, the entire sports industry and national human rights institutions. She is also vice-chair on the board of directors for the Green Sports Alliance and was a special advisor for human rights and sustainability on the United 2026 bid that saw Canada, Mexico and the United States clinch FIFA World Cup hosting rights.

In our speaker releases, we will also celebrate some of our most iconic past speakers, with this first round reveal also paying homage to the likes of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba and Juventus board member Assia Grazioli-Venier.

Also among our WFS Icons are Andrea Agnelli (Juventus), Emilio Butragueño (Real Madrid), Rahul Kadavakolu (Rakuten), Ricardo Fort (Coca-Cola), Miguel Ángel Gil (Atletico Madrid) and Al Guido (San Francisco 49ers).

Tickets are now available HERE for WFS Live, with 10% of all sales going to Common Goal.

LaLiga x WFS partnership extends into fifth year

LaLiga x WFS partnership extends into fifth year 1266 710 WFS Live

World Football Summit and LaLiga are celebrating a fifth-year of partnership, with the Spanish top-flight renewing as Global Partners of the second edition of WFS Live from November 23-27.

Since the very first World Football Summit in October of 2016, to July’s inaugural digital WFS event, LaLiga has been central to making each and every one of our summits so successful. 

The relationship between the two companies began five years ago with LaLiga president Javier Tebas giving a keynote speech titled “The future of the professional football industry”

Tebas – who has gone on to become a regular top-tier speaker at WFS events – was joined by more LaLiga directors at our debut that featured Javier Gómez (then Corporate Managing Director) debating football investment and Pedro Malabia (then Women’s Football Director) discussing the league’s investment in the women’s game.

By May, 2017 LaLiga became WFS Global Partners for the first time – a moment of great pride for both institutions to be able to make the partnership official.

“We’re delighted to collaborate with WFS,” said Tebas at the time. “The work they’re doing to improve each year is excellent and it’s important for LaLiga to present our work at this knowledge sharing forum, where the top representatives in the world of football meet. We want to actively participate in this and help grow the sports industry.”

That’s exactly what has happened ever since. LaLiga has been a highly engaged and influential participant at all subsequent WFS events; from Madrid to Bilbao, to Kuala Lumpur and beyond, producing some incredibly memorable moments along the way.

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What a great opening day at #WFSLive, we really couldn't have hoped for any better. Here are some of the top-lines from our superb day one panels.⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ “Together we’ve tried to ensure rights don’t lose value. We’ve realised Together we can do things better. That UEFA and the big clubs should not go on their own. I think that has weakened the Super League project quite a lot.” – @javier.tebas ⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ "We tend to have this feeling as women of not being good enough, but I actually think it's an asset because it always pushed me to be the best version of myself, always striving for excellence." – @desiree.bellia ⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ "There are too many football clubs, the players are over-remunerated and leagues will have to be run more efficiently and professionally.” – Sir Martin Sorrell⁣ ⁣ 🗣️ "We need to be very creative through these times. with sponsors, we are speaking about how they want to go, what are their resources and maybe if we can offer them something different with new propositions.” – @luigidelaurentiis

A post shared by World Football Summit (@worldfootballsummit) on

LaLiga were due to also feature prominently at our WFS Africa and FIF20 events before their coronavirus-enforced postponements, and were there once again when we got back up and running online in July.

Tebas opened WFS Live in a wide-ranging interview with  journalist Alfredo Matilla, and the Spanish league’s president was a fitting curtain-raiser due to both his and LaLiga‘s long-standing commitment to WFS.

Elsewhere, Alfredo Bermejo, Ivan Codina and Albert Castelló all represented LaLiga at WFS Live, where we also had the pleasure of sharing a workshop from the league.

Tickets are now on sale for November’s WFS Live event and are available via THIS LINK.

Industry Awards 2020TW

WFS Industry Awards now open to applications until 18 October

WFS Industry Awards now open to applications until 18 October 2333 1313 WFS Live

This year’s WFS Industry Awards are now open to applications and will take place virtually at WFS Live on Friday, 27 November.

With applications now open, the deadline for submissions is 18 October.

The WFS Industry Awards were created exactly to acknowledge and reward the achievements of executives, managers, sponsors, agencies, media, NGOs and so many other professionals whose talent, passion and dedication help make football the world’s greatest game and a thriving industry.

Since the inception of the WFS Industry Awards in 2017, the ceremony has been a part of World Football Summit’s annual congress in Madrid.

Unfortunately, this year the event has been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are even more reasons to celebrate the work of the industry.

During the past months football has faced the biggest challenge of its history – one that is being overcome thanks to the talent, commitment and brilliant work of outstanding professionals.

This year they deserve to be rewarded more than ever, and with the invaluable support of our partners we are committed to doing so, and that is why we have decided to maintain the WFS Industry Awards.

The winners of each category will then be announced on 16 November and they will have the chance to be interviewed on our digital stage in a 20-minute session that will be part of the WFS Live Conference Programme.

There are also two new categories to make sure all professionals have the chance to join our Hall of Fame: Best Digital Platform and Outstanding Innovation Initiative.

As such, the WFS Industry Awards 2020 categories read as follows:

You can find information on how to participate, HERE.

WFS Live returns in November, to build football’s roadmap for the future

WFS Live returns in November, to build football’s roadmap for the future 2560 1440 WFS Live

After the success of its inaugural edition, which gathered 158 speakers and over 3,400 professionals, WFS Live returns from November 23-27.

The second iteration will bring the football industry’s most influential community together once again to share experiences and lessons learned during the restart of competitions after the hiatus imposed by coronavirus, while pooling strategies for the crucial times ahead and exploring new paths for the industry to continue moving forward in the so-called ‘new normal’. 

Building football’s roadmap for the future will be the motto of this virtual gathering in which industry leaders will share strategies developed to cushion the multiple effects of the pandemic on their businesses, new opportunities they have encountered along the way, and their future prospects in light of the knowledge and experience gained in recent months. 

WFS Live will also stress the need to take this opportunity to evolve towards a more modern, more digital and more interactive industry, as well as one that is fairer, more inclusive and more supportive. The event will continue contributing to the fight against the effects of coronavirus on vulnerable communities, and 10 per cent of the ticketing revenues will be donated to Common Goal’s Covid-19 Response Fund.

“Resuming competitions and finishing them successfully has been the biggest challenge the sports industry has ever met,” said Jan Alessie, Director of World Football Summit.

“The experience and knowledge gained by the different stakeholders during the process is huge and it should provide invaluable guidance for the industry in the crucial times ahead of us. It’s therefore essential that leaders share their experiences, learnings and vision for the future, and together build a roadmap that will allow the industry to move forward with a firm step in this new and still uncertain normality.”

As in the inaugural edition, the WFS Live platform will allow attendees to engage with speakers by submitting questions during the sessions and to interact with other attendees via group discussions or scheduling one-on-one meetings and video-calls. In addition, new features will be released to improve the user experience and provide new networking opportunities for attendees, partners and exhibitors. 

The quality of the platform was the second most valued aspect according to the WFS Live Satisfaction Survey only after the quality of the speakers. A total of 94.1 per cent of respondents said they had met their goals, while 86.3 per cent of them were sure they would participate in a second edition.

Covid-19 has marked 2020 in every sector linked to sports, but the pandemic has not been the only significant event. The year will also be remembered as one in which sport firmly stood up to racism. The actions taken both individually by athletes of all sports, and collectively by organisations and companies across the industry undoubtedly signal a turning point in the need to eradicate racial discrimination. 

There were also significant statements of intent to bring greater parity between the men’s and women’s games, with the decision taken by the Football Associations of England and Brazil to pay their international female teams the same as their male counterparts, following the steps of Australia, Norway and New Zealand.

WFS Live: Building football’s roadmap for the future

These events are also featured in the comprehensive WFS Live Conference Concept, which pivots on five main themes:  

  • Explore: The ‘new normal’ in football
  • Bridge the gap: Partnerships, investments & more
  • Discover the next step: Sports technology & OTT
  • Inclusivity: This game is for everyone
  • Breaching boundaries: New global possibilities in sport

The WFS Live Programme, which will be released in the coming weeks, will also feature the final of the WFS StartCup by GSIC – the annual startup competition promoted by WFS and the Global Sports Innovation Center (GSIC). The WFS Industry Awards, issued annually by WFS to recognise outstanding works done by professionals of the different fields within the football industry, will also take place. Due to Covid-19, this year the awards will be handed virtually. 

Tickets for WFS Live will go on sale next Monday September 14th with a unique special offer, so keep an eye on your mailbox and the World Football Summit’s social media networks to make sure you don’t miss it.

In the meantime; if you are interested in being part of WFS Live and want more information on how to participate, send us an email to: 

WFS Live proceeds donated to Common Goal and Fundação Fenômenos coronavirus efforts

WFS Live proceeds donated to Common Goal and Fundação Fenômenos coronavirus efforts 1080 1080 WFS Live

Having committed all net profits from WFS Live to social movements Common Goal and Fundação Fenômenos, World Football Summit and Octagon Brasil have contributed to their respective ongoing initiatives fighting coronavirus around the world.

As part of WFS’ continued investment in real-world change through the power of football, proceeds from WFS Liveour inaugural digital event – are now being distributed by both Common Goal and Fundação Fenômenos.

“An important part of what makes football the world’s most popular game is its unmatchable power to tear down barriers, bring people together and drive social development,” said Jan Alessie, director of World Football Summit.

“These are no easy times for the industry, but at WFS we believe that now, more than ever, it’s our duty to continue supporting these efforts and promoting the power that makes football so unique. That’s why we’re delighted to donate the net proceeds of WFS Live to our long-time partners at Common Goal and to Fundação Fenômenos – with whom we look forward to continue working with in the future.”

The fight against COVID-19

Celebrating its third anniversary this month, Common Goal was co-founded by Jürgen Griesbeck and Juan Mata in 2017 as a way of “uniting the global football community in tackling the greatest social challenges of our time.”

They have done so by bringing on board some of the biggest names in the sport – such as Jürgen Klopp, Megan Rapinoe, and Paulo Dybala – taking the pledge and donating 1% of their salaries to Common Goal causes.

Common Goal have already raised over €300,000 for its COVID-19 Relief Fund, while allocating €260,000 to 27 organisations in 20 countries, with the aim of supporting Football for Good’s emergency response efforts and young people hardest hit by the pandemic.

This has helped community organisations deliver education and medical supplies to deprived areas in 200+ communities across 90 countries, reaching out to more than two million people dealing with a global crisis that has left death, hunger, violence and displacement in its wake.

Similarly, Fundação Fenômenos were born in 2012 with football at it score in the shape of founder Ronaldo Názario – the Brazil legend who redefined the sport on the pitch and is now trying to have a similarly transformative impact off it.

The Sao Paulo-based organisation’s COVID-19 Fund will distribute raised funds from September to December this year, with the express aim of supporting communities across Brazil that includes: the indigenous and black population, those that identify as LGBTQI+, the homeless, refugees, and immigrants.

The start of a new partnership…

It was the first time WFS and Fundação Fenômenos has partnered, but certainly won’t ​be the last, with both organisations firmly committed to using football as the catalyst for bringing about societal change in areas that need it the most.

“We are absolutely satisfied with the WFS partnership,” said Fundação Fenômenos president Otávio Pereira. “The event itself was groundbreaking and successful on all fronts. Furthermore, we were glad to be part of the pool of NGO’s supported.

“We call to action others to promote and foster partnerships between private and third-sectors. This is a brilliant example how joint forces can change the world for the better.”

Alessie added: “Football players have a unique power to make an impact on people’s lives and Fundação Fenômenos is a great example of the remarkable goals that can be achieved when that power is used to giving back to society.

“The work that Fundação Fenômenos is doing with vulnerable communities in Brazil is amazing. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ronaldo and all his team. We’re honoured to be partners and we look forward to continue joining forces in the future.”

… And the latest in a long-term collaboration

As for Common Goal, this is the latest in a long-running relationship that dates back to WFS taking the 1% pledge just weeks after Common Goal’s inception three years ago.

The 1% pledge is just a small part of WFS’ ongoing commitment to the Common Goal cause, and as a platform that brings the football industry leaders together, WFS firmly agrees for the need to promote football as a force for good and a tool for social development.

Griesbeck and Mata have taken to the WFS stage numerous times, bringing awareness to the huge impact football can have on the lives of millions of vulnerable people around the world.

Most recently, Spain midfielder Mata joined Fundação Fenômenos founder – and WFS Live partner – Ronaldo for an important discussion on how football players can contribute more to society at July’s WFS Live event.

Both shared their hands-on knowledge and experience from their respective work with Common Goal and Fundacao Fenômenos, which includes their efforts combating COVID-19.

“Over the last few years, World Football Summit has successfully created a space to gather and discuss the future of football,” said Griesbeck, whose Street Football World organisation was collaborating with WFS some time before Common Goal was born.

“Together we aim to drive the agenda towards how it can meaningfully contribute to the development of a fairer society and a sustainable planet, towards a platform that encourages new voices within the industry.

“We’re convinced that it’s of vital importance and we’re committed to engage in this conversation alongside World Football Summit. We’re proud to have WFS on board as a Common Goal member and look forward to together being part of the solution in the times ahead.”​

“In recent years we’re seeing more and more football players becoming actively involved in social issues, such as the fight against poverty, racism or sexual discrimination. This is of great importance because nobody has more capacity to influence youth around the world more than athletes,” added Alessie.

Common Goal’s work, making footballers and other industry players aware of their power to build a fairer society, has been key in this ongoing and crucial process. At WFS, we’re extremely proud of being members and partners of Common Goal since their inception, and we remain committed to ensuring that football as a tool for social development will be an important part of the industry’s agenda when addressing the future of the game.”

Day 5 highlights: Drogba, Carney, Collina, Infantino, Ronaldo, and more

Day 5 highlights: Drogba, Carney, Collina, Infantino, Ronaldo, and more 1236 566 WFS Live

Day 5 of WFS Live was packed with action and relevant discussions. African leaders such as CAF General Secretary Abdelmounaim Bah or football legend Didier Drogba discussed the best strategies for the game to continue growing in the continent, Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of FIFA’s Referee Committee, addressed how VAR is changing the game for the good, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino shared his plans for the future with Ronaldo Nazário in a unique live conversation. And as a special treat for our Spanish fans, we had Vicente del Bosque, Fernando Hierro, David Villa and Juan Mata sharing their memories on the 2010 World Cup, in which the Spanish National Team conquered the world with their unique “Tiki Taka” style.

Gianni Infantino on hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup every two years
“One idea that came in this period, and even before as well, is that maybe we should organise the Women’s World Cup every two years instead of every four years. For the next Women’s World Cup in 2023, we had a lot of interest around the world. We’ll go to Australia and New Zealand. Then, what happens next? Should we go to South America? Or maybe Europe or North America want to organise it again? Why not South America? Why not Africa? So, we need to see what we can do.”

Ronaldo Nazário on fighting against racism every day
“The fight against racism is not just a fight for black people, it’s everybody’s fight. We have to fight it every day. Nobody is born racist, but somehow people learn to be racist. We have to fight to teach those who learn that when kids. But, it’s everybody’s fight.”

Santiago Solari on the mental challenges faced by players during the Covid-19 lockdown
“During the lockdown, players have had to rely heavily on self-discipline and self-motivation. They have worked for weeks without the control of any staff and without the motivation of the daily competition and also without their teammates. For the first time in their careers, they’ve experienced the harshness and the loneliness of the preparation for an individual sport, which is much more difficult.”

David Villa on why Spain has to quit looking for the new Xavi and the next Iniesta
“It would be a huge mistake to try to find the new Xavi, the new Iniesta, the new Villa or the new Casillas. Spain has great players and great coaches. They are different to the ones that won the World Cup in 2010, but they are perfectly capable of building an excellent team. If we want to succeed in the future, we have to stop comparing the current players with the past players. If we do so, Spanish football has an enormous potential.”

Didier Drogba on the need to educate football players in Africa
“Education is the key. We need to educate the players because, for example, in Ivory Coast some of them don’t know how to read, how to write. Education is vital, it is crucial because you can’t focus just on creating good football players. This is a career that lasts 10, 15 perhaps 20 years, but after that there is a life and the move can be very difficult.”

Karen Carney (Visa) on the importance of long-term partnerships in women’s football
“When I first started playing I don’t think there was any partners, there wasn’t really big sponsors. Nobody really cared if I’m honest. Then, as England started to get to major tournaments, you saw sponsors and partners drop in at key times, maybe a year before the tournaments and then they would drop out. There wasn’t really any consistency. And what I noticed since now is that for instance with Visa’s seven-year partnership, which is incredible, Nike, Barclays… This stops those peaks and troughs of coming in at the key moments and then dropping out. How can the women’s game ever really develop like that? Visa’s seven-year plan shows confidence in the game and it shows believe and that’s massive for other brands as well.”

Pierluigi Collina (FIFA) on how VAR is forcing referees to change their mentality 
“Referees today grew up as referees without VAR, so this generation is in a process of big change. They have to adapt their mentality. To be clear, a referee on the field of play has been educated to defend the decision taken against everybody. Today he has to change this mentality because he has to understand and accept that his decision on the field can be overruled based on something that can be shown on the monitor. It’s a matter of mentality.”