The FIFA Foundation strengthened its position in 2020 as an influential international actor capable of promoting positive social change around the world.
A new executive chairman
In January, the FIFA Foundation Board appointed Mauricio Macri as its Executive Chairman. Macri arrived with an extensive track record as a leader at the highest echelon of both politics and football, serving as the President of Argentina from 2015 to 2019 and the President of Boca Juniors from 1995 to 2007, overseeing the most glittering period in the club’s history, which yielded 17 trophies, 11 of them international.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who is also the President of the FIFA Foundation Board, said, “Mauricio is the perfect fit to lead this project, which aims to harness football to benefit society. His experience and vision will undoubtedly enable our foundation to step up its efforts and widen its scope of action in order to foster social improvements all over the world.”
“As I stated during my presidency of the G20, education is a tool that can level the playing field in terms of opportunities, and it can, hand in hand with football, help to build bridges and contribute to global progress.”
Partnership for sustainable development
In August, the FIFA Foundation and UPL Ltd., one of the top five agriculture solutions companies worldwide, signed a memorandum of understanding, under which they will work together to use football as a platform to raise awareness about several key social and environmental issues, including the positive impact that sustainable development, environmental protection, educating young people and leading a healthy and active lifestyle can have on society.
In particular, UPL will collaborate with FIFA on the FIFA Foundation’s Football for Schools Programme, coordinating access to the programme for up to 30 schools in rural areas in Brazil, as well as engaging with local authorities in key markets.
Together, UPL and the FIFA Foundation will also support sustainable development objectives and environmental protection efforts through a ten-year programme that will enable the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and reward smallholder farmers in developing markets for adopting sustainable agricultural practices.
Marcus Rashford wins inaugural FIFA Foundation Award
“I wanted to make change and to give people a better chance at life. The kids are looking forward instead of behind, they have got their heads up instead of down, so thank you very much.”
Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford’s commitment to charitable causes was recognised at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2020 ceremony, in which he was named the first FIFA Foundation Award recipient for his outstanding humanitarian work to combat child poverty.
The Manchester-born forward successfully campaigned for the UK government to provide over one million school children with access to free lunch vouchers. Importantly too, Rashford’s profile helped bring greater awareness of the need to support charity and community organisations.
In conjunction with the award, the FIFA Foundation committed to donate USD 100,000 to support his inspiring social and charity work.
FIFA Foundation calls for technology to support children’s educational needs
The FIFA Foundation called on governments and private organisations to harness technological solutions in a coordinated way to support children’s educational needs across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic, and for such solutions to remain part of the curriculum of the future.
“Technology has a place in the curriculum, never more so than now,” said FIFA Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff. “Through the Football for Schools education programme, the FIFA Foundation is committed to making lasting changes for children across the world. Our mission is to increase and promote these new technological realities in schools everywhere, with a focus on the most vulnerable because we believe that education should provide an equal opportunity for all.”
The FIFA Foundation also believes that such technological changes should be matched with teacher training at all levels, to support the educators and to provide them with both the skills and the tools that allow them to best teach and evaluate students who are now isolated and not part of a formal class environment.