17th EFDN #Morethanfootball Conference officially opened
Chairman of the EFDN Board Ton Strooband welcomed this morning all attendees of the 17th EFDN #Morethanfootball Conference in Liverpool. More than 200 representatives of European CSR in Football related organisations attend this event which is held in Goodison Park of Everton FC and Anfield of Liverpool FC.
“I have the pleasure of welcoming you to the 17th More Than Football EFDN Conference; an event that has now grown so big that for this year we have two prestigious venues in the great City of Liverpool. Both clubs are well known for their work within their communities “off the field of play” as it were. They are so deeply rooted in their local communities they share a special bond that represents Liverpool in a positive way.
I would like to thank both clubs for their support, and their willingness to host our conference and I know that you will enjoy their hospitality. I also would like to pay tribute to our staff for their hard work in organising the conference.
As a football supporter visiting the UK I always feel like it is coming home. This time, however, I stand here with very mixed feelings as thoughts turn to the people of Ukraine, who for thousands of people, cannot think of home or going home. They cannot imagine the moment when this may happen.
I am proud to know that EFDN has played a key role in encouraging British and European football clubs to help the people of Ukraine. As one example, along with some clubs, we collected much-needed goods and donations for a shelter in Lviv, initiated by our member FC Shaktar Donetsk with the help of Legia Warsaw. There have been, of course, many more examples of support and practical work and I wish to publicly thank the staff of EFDN, clubs, Leagues and FA`s for their work in moving things forward and of course to the many clubs and individuals who have gone the extra mile to help. Later today Shaktar, UNHCR and the Scort Foundation will share their experiences during a Football for Peace panel discussion.
At this moment we have 150 members from 32 countries. The interest and growth of EFDN are very impressive and are to be welcomed if we are to make the important changes that support vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our communities. We need this now more than ever don`t we. Through the power of football especially, we can and are making a difference and this you will hear about in the next two days. On behalf of EFDN itself – thank you for what you do.
The EFDN Board along with Hubert Rovers our CEO, are currently working on a new strategic plan to ensure the continuity of your and our important work. This was informed and guided by the responses in the survey that many of you contributed to recently. We intend to meet the challenges of the future and with your help, we will succeed. The final plan will be presented to you in Budapest at the 18th Conference in the Autumn. Colleagues who attended last evening`s GA had an opportunity to see the “work in progress”.
“Finally, I hope that you will enjoy this conference programme and it will inspire you to achieve greater things. I hope it will bring new and fresh ideas, provide opportunities to share and learn from one another and of course to make new friends who share the same values and purposes as we do in EFDN. I hope the Conference provides the motivation and momentum for spreading the fantastic work you do and help it develop the work you carry out within your communities.”