World Football Summit

Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary General

Fatma Samoura signs: FIFA Secretary General to close WFS Live

Fatma Samoura signs: FIFA Secretary General to close WFS Live 1200 650 WFS Live

World Football Summit is proud to announce that FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura has joined the line-up of speakers for the upcoming WFS Live digital event that will see football’s global stakeholders come together around the main issues affecting the industry from November 23-27. Samoura will be the guest speaker at the event’s closing session on Friday November 27 at 5.20pm (CET).

Samoura – recently inducted into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame alongside trailblazing women such as Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hillary Rodham Clinton – was appointed as FIFA’s first female and first African Secretary General in its 116-year history in 2016.

Prior to joining FIFA, Samoura spent 21 years working on high level United Nations (UN) programmes in Italy, the Republic of Djibouti, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger, Madagascar, Nigeria, Central America and Central West Asia. Throughout her diplomatic and humanitarian career, her leadership and vision has helped empower women and young people, change lives and protect the environment.

Samoura’s experience in complex development, socio-economics and security, as well as her humanitarian values, have made her a strategic figure in the exemplary set of reforms lead by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, playing a key role in promoting best governance practices, tackling any kind of discrimination and, ultimately, making football truly global.

Samoura will speak with sports broadcaster Carol Tshabalala about her path to FIFA, her work alongside its president Infantino to use football as a tool to bring about positive development, her commitment to championing diversity and much more.

This will be Samoura’s second time participating in a WFS event following the keynote address she delivered at WFS17 in Madrid, where she spoke about what she listed as FIFA’s top priorities: “Promoting development, gender equality and most importantly good governance”.

“We are delighted to have Fatma Samoura speaking at WFS Live. At World Football Summit we believe that for football to continue being the world’s most popular game all stakeholders must acknowledge the need to embed social purpose at the heart of the industry,” said World Football Summit director, Jan Alessie. “No one can provide a more valuable testimony than someone that has a proven record of promoting social development across the globe.”

Widely considered the most influential women in sport, Samoura leads a stellar line-up of speakers that includes key decision makers from across the industry such as NWSL Commissioner, Lisa Baird; football agents Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola; Google Head of Sports, Entertainment and Marketing, Kate Johnson; HBSE CEO Scott O’Neil; FIFA Council Member María Sol Muñoz; Founder and Chairman of Aser Ventures, Andrea Radrizzani; and LaLiga President Javier Tebas, to name a few.

Mino Raiola, Daniele Boccucci, Jonathan Barnett

Super agents Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola to share same stage at WFS Live

Super agents Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola to share same stage at WFS Live 2560 1440 WFS Live

Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola – respectively named Forbes’ No.1 and No.5 most powerful sports agents in 2019 – will share the WFS Live stage on Thursday, November 26 (4:05pm CET) in what will be one of the most hotly anticipated panels of our second edition.

Barnett and Raiola, who represent some of the biggest names in the sport, will be joined by The Football Forum director Daniele Boccucci and renowned Italian football journalist Gianluca Di Marzio who will moderate the panel.

Up for debate in their Setting the record straight: Understanding football agents like never before panel will be the future of agents and players.

This comes amid a backdrop of calls from FIFA to bring greater scrutiny to the finances behind transfer and contractual negotiations, as well as counters from the likes of Barnett and Raiola that have previously warned of legal action over possible salary caps.

Widely considered one of the most powerful sports agents in the world, Barnett founded The Stellar Group in 1992 alongside David Manasseh and has since transformed Stellar into one of the biggest agencies in the world.

Barnett – named Forbes’ 2019 No.1 Sports Agent in the world – gained prominence for his role in brokering Gareth Bale’s record-move to Real Madrid in 2013 and this year saw his Stellar Group acquired by Hollywood talent agency ICM.

It’s very easy to explain who Mino Raiola is. One should simply recall the names of the players he assisted from the 90s until today and ask them to talk about Mino Raiola. In fact, he combines his extraordinary professional expertise with a personal relationship with the players that is exemplified in one of the main claims of its company: “We are family”. He was also named in the top-five of Forbes’ 2019 list of the most powerful sports agents on the planet.

Established in 2019, The Football Forum – of which Boccucci is a director – describes itself as “an international movement of football agents and players” that aims to develop best practice and maintain the highest employment standards for its members and beyond.

Boccucci was formerly with the Court of Arbitration for Sport before joining The Football Forum, that has Forbes’ top-four football agents in the world on its board: Barnett, Raiola, Jorge Mendes, and Roger Wittmann.“To secure your spot at #WFSLive and make sure you don’t miss out on this meeting of the Super Agents, you can book your ticket HERE.

WFSIA Best Male Player finalists

Robert Lewandowski and Pernille Harder top list of 2020 WFS Industry Awards finalists

Robert Lewandowski and Pernille Harder top list of 2020 WFS Industry Awards finalists 2560 1440 WFS Live

Footballers Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) and Pernille Harder (Chelsea FC), Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert, the Allegiant Stadium, Visa, Santander, Twitter and the Eredivisie are among the finalists for the 2020 WFS Industry Awards.

Presented annually by World Football Summit, WFSIA acknowledges and rewards the achievements of executives, managers, sponsors, agencies, media, NGOs and other professionals whose talent, passion and dedication help make football the world’s most popular sport.

Lewandowski, winner of the 2020 UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich, will face his team mate Joshua Kimmich and FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in a quest to win the first-ever Best Male Player presented by As.

For the Best Female Player award, Denmark’s Harder, runner-up in the women’s Champions League with Wolfsburg, will face France’s Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnaise) and Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso (FC Barcelona).

These categories were added this year to reward the efforts of professional footballers, the great protagonists of this sport together with the fans, across one of the most difficult years in the history of the game.

For the Outstanding Innovation Initiative presented by N3XT Sport, another category added this year, finalists are: SciSports and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) for the eQuality Index; Banco Santander, LaLiga, Conmebol and UEFA, for Fieeld; and Lega Serie A for Virtual Coach.

Eredivisie CV, for the Eredivisie Shirt Festival, and the German Bundesliga, for Bundesliga Match Facts (powered by AWS), made it to the final in the Best Digital Platform presented by Seven League, the last category debuting this year. Their rival will be international OTT platform Eleven Sports.

Twitter, one of the world’s leading digital platforms also made it to the final of the WFS Industry Awards, but in the category of Best Venue presented by Mondo Stadia. The jury has highlighted the effort that the social media platform has done over the past months to provide a meeting point for football fans all over the world to share their passion for the game while access to physical venues was banned due to Covid-19. The Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas, USA) and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London, UK) are the other two finalists.

Winners of all categories will be announced on November 16 and awards will be handed virtually as part of WFS LIVE, the digital event that will bring the global football community together from November 23-27 to build the industry’s roadmap towards a brighter and more sustainable future for all stakeholders. The closing day of this event will be devoted to honouring the winners, who will take the virtual stage for a 20-minute interview that will be streamed on the WFS LIVE platform.

All the 2020 WFS Industry Awards finalists:

Best Male Player presented by As
– Joshua Kimmich  – Bayern Munich
– Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
– Lionel Messi – FC Barcelona

Best Female Player presented by As
– Pernille Harder – Chelsea Football Club   
– Jennifer Hermoso – FC Barcelona
– Wendie Renard – Olympique Lyonnaise

Best Executive presented by Nolan Partners
– Larry Freedman – Los Angeles FC
– Jordan Gardner – FC Helsingør
– Christian Seifert – DFL

Best Venue presented by Mondo Stadia
– Allegiant Stadium
– Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
– Twitter

Best Club Commercial Initiative presented by McCann
– Asociación Deportivo Cali
– Club Deportivo Juan Grande Femenino
– Real Betis Balompié

Best Women’s Football Initiative presented by Women in Football
– Football Association Of Norway / Football For All In Vietnam Project
– Special Olympics,
– 16Over90 & Visa

Best Internationalisation Strategy presented by Deloitte
– Asia Pacific Events
– Mediapro Canada
– RC Celta

Outstanding Innovation Initiative presented by N3XT Sports
– Banco Santander & LaLiga, Conmebol and UEFA for Fieeld
– Lega Serie A for Virtual Coach
– SciSports & KNVB for eQuality Index

Best Digital Platform presented by Seven League
– DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga
– Eleven Sports
– Eredivisie CV

Football for Good presented by Common Goal
– Diogenis MKO
– Dream a dream
– Indochina Starfish Foundation

Best Supplier presented by SportsTechX
– Horizm
– Live Penalty
– You First Sports – KNOT

WFS StartCup by GSIC
– Beyond Sport
– Idoven

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.

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.

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

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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.

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: 

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.”

Gianni Infantino: “It’s time to speak about the international calendar, nobody is happy with it”

Gianni Infantino: “It’s time to speak about the international calendar, nobody is happy with it” 1242 570 WFS Live

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is keen to engage in dialogue with clubs and federations over the future of football’s calendar, a calendar that has already been completely shaken up by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is one of the main issues that Infantino addressed as he appeared in the closing session of WFS Live powered by Ronaldo, a Q&A which was hosted by Ronaldo himself.

The Brazilian legend asked the FIFA president about football’s calendar going forward and Infantino pointed out that it has already been shaken up due to the several months of inaction that the pandemic caused. Given that so many found the balance between club and national team matches problematic even before the crisis, now is the time for dialogue.

As Gianni Infantino said: “When you speak about it, you find out that nobody is really happy with the current international match calendar. You have national team games in September, October and November, then in March and then in June. You have players who have to travel halfway around the world back and forth for these games. I think it is time to speak about it.”

“It’s important to listen, to get input, to get opinions, to find the right balance,” he continued. “It’s important for us that we find the right balance between clubs and national teams. And not only a few clubs in Europe and a few national teams in Europe and Brazil and Argentina, but much wider than that. All over the world. We need to make sure that when we rethink our competitions at FIFA level, and also at national level, that we take the experiences we’ve had now with this crisis on board and we see how we can make football more impactful.”

“Nobody is really happy with the current international match calendar. You have players who have to travel halfway around the world back and forth for these games. I think it is time to speak about it.” – Gianni Infantino, FIFA President

The new-look FIFA Club World Cup will have a place in the new calendar, even if FIFA already agreed to move it from the summer 2021 slot. Ronaldo asked why not all in the football industry have been on board with the plans to revamp and expand this Club World Cup, and Infantino responded as so: “I don’t know why they’re afraid. Maybe because it would become the best club competition in the world very soon. I think it’s an example of something I’ve said before. When we decided to do the new Club World Cup, we decided at the same time to stop with the Confederations Cup and the current Club World Cup. I think we are the only sports body in the world that doesn’t just add, but that replaces and makes something that is more relevant and more interesting.

Delving into the impacts of COVID-19 on the world of football, Infantino told Ronaldo about how FIFA is trying to help organisations around the world and how a relief fund of 1.5 billion dollars has been created. Even still, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

One of the repeated themes of the WFS Live week, which was held from July 6th to July 10th, was the issue of women’s football and how the impact of the coronavirus crisis could be even harsher for the women’s game. FIFA are aware of this, as Infantino explained.

Women’s football is a top priority for FIFA and we have created a specific task force and working group to deal with questions about women’s football in this particular crisis,” he revealed. “We have committed 1 billion dollars from the next four years to be invested by FIFA in women’s football and, in spite of the crisis, we’ll continue with this investment of course. As part of our relief plan, we’ve invested in women’s football as well. So, I think we should not use coronavirus to put women’s football aside. On the contrary, we have to help women’s football even more because it has a bright future.”

“Maybe we should organise the Women’s World Cup every two years instead of every four years”, Ganni Infantino – FIFA President

Moving on to that future, Infantino suggested that the FIFA Women’s World Cup could become a biennial event. He said: “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.”

The conversation between Ronaldo and Infantino concluded with some thoughts about football and footballers’ role in social movements, such as Black Lives Matter. Infantino explained that he is fully behind players voicing opinions on such matters, saying: “Players are people. So, for me, it’s normal and natural that they express their views. I’m definitely a defender of freedom of expression, always with respect and never with disrespect or with violence. But, whenever a football player is expressing their views or opinions in a respectful way or the right way then obviously this has to be welcomed because it has an impact in society and we want football to have a positive impact in society.”

Ronaldo completely agreed with that sentiment and called for education to play a role. As the Brazilian concluded: “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.”

A selection of Gianni Infantino’s quotes :

On altering transfer market rules to allow players to finish 2019/20 with their current clubs:
“With different laws in different countries and with different interests in different countries, and also with different clubs, we had to find some reasonable and flexible rules and we amended our regulations on a temporary basis for this period for the transfers in order to, mainly, protect the integrity of the competitions. It’s important that if a player starts a competition with a club that they finish the competition with that club as well, or at least that we protect the integrity in the sense that this player cannot go on June 30th to play for another club in the same competition and play the last few matches there. Because this, of course, would not be fair from a sporting point of view.

On the busy schedule facing world football over the coming years:
“The Champions League will be finished at the end of August and then we’ll immediately have national team games and then the new season starts and then it ends with the Euros and the Copa America. Then we’re already into 2021/22 and then that’ll be the year of the World Cup. So, it’ll be a very right schedule for the next couple of years. We have to realise that the core of football is the players. I think some people in some management positions have forgotten that, certainly in the past and maybe some as well in the present. We have to realise that, at FIFA, we are here to make sure that the stage is set for the main actors, which are the players, to shine. We need to be very careful and very mindful about this, about the health of the players. For this reason, for example, I’m happy that the IFAB agreed with the proposal of FIFA for there to be five substitutions for this period.”

On holding matches behind closed doors:
“To watch these games without spectators is sad. It’s sad. Of course, it’s better than nothing, but… I was saying before that the players are the heart of the game, but the fans are the soul of the game. I think that without fans it’s like without players. It’s not really football. In this moment, it’s not possible because of health reasons. But, we need to work to have the fans back in the stadiums as soon as it’s possible from a health point of view.”

On FIFA’s role in education:
“There are many many topics that we can speak to children about through football and we can help in the education of children. So, FIFA is investing in the Football For Schools Programme 100 million dollars to give 700 million children around the world the possibility not only to play football, but mainly to have, through football, the possibility to learn a few skills which are important for their lives.”

Day 4 highlights: Simon Oliveira, Al Guido, Joe de Sena, the WFS StartCup and more

Day 4 highlights: Simon Oliveira, Al Guido, Joe de Sena, the WFS StartCup and more 1097 521 WFS Live

Day 4 of WFS Live powered by R9 saw leading social media experts discuss why athletes are becoming powerful influencers and why this trend is only just starting. Successful entrepreneurs like Alejandro Agag (Extreme E) or Joe de Sena (Spartan Race) exchanged views on what football can learn from other sports, whilst Barça’s Marta Plana and Pixellot CEO Alon Werber addressed the crucial role of technology in the “New Normal”. Plus, we had the semi-finals of the WFS StartCup by GSIC.

Simon Oliveira (KIN Partners) on who can become the LeBron James of football:
“If you look at the audiences of Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar I think they have the power of a Ferrari in their hands but they’re still learning to drive. They have enormous potential, some individually have more than the combined audience of The New York Times, The Washington Post and the LA Times put together. However, I think where LeBron was very clever was he very much identified what the content slate would be from his perspective. It was built around American black culture and things that he was passionate about. I think any footballer going to this are needs to be very clear as to what their identity is and what the content stream and platform should be for.”

Al Guido (49ers) on the need to embrace user-generated content
“We have 20 people on our content team capturing 49ers and other sports every single day. However, we have 10 million fans all over the world capturing 49ers content, so you have to embrace it. User-generated content is just another form of our 49ers Studio team. Last year, Live Nation and Ticketmaster had more reaction for tickets going on sale for the NFL season based on user-generated 30-second advertisements versus studio-recorded production quality, because people want to be in the action, they want to see what happens there.”
Alon Werber (Pixellot) on how automation and AI can save clubs post-Covid
“A lot of clubs in the world live on venue tickets and are going to lack revenue streams in the coming season, in which there are going to be severe restrictions on stadium attendance. Bringing quick and low cost production to allow them to continue connecting with their fans via a subscription model or through sponsorship deals can be almost a matter of life or death for these clubs in the coming season. At Pixellot we’ve been engaging AI and computer vision to film, produce and stream completely automatic games for 4 years and today we are installed in around 8,000 fields of 16 different sports. Last January we were producing live 100,000 hours of life events.”
Ricardo Dias (Ambev) on bringing content to people’s homes
“It’s time to stay at home. We are taking the opportunity to create new occasions for consumption. We are investing in e-commerce, lives and bringing them to people’s homes. It was not part of the plan, but it will certainly add a lot of value in the future.”
Diogo Kotscho (Orlando City SC) on creating and engaging digital communities

“At Orlando City, what worked was creating and engaging an entire community. As a result, today it is easier to see Orlando City flags, shirts and stickers around than Orlando Magic, the traditional NBA team and more related to tourism. We brought Kaká in the first year, which was important to start our journey with the fans.”