General recap of our first conference day in Seville!

21 March 2023

General recap of our first conference day in Seville!

We started this sunny day with a kick-off from our Chairman of the EFDN Board, Ton Strooband. Where he took a moment to address the importance of ESG/CSR activities and showed everyone a video with the reason why we are attending the conference and why we are working in this type of working environment. Next to that, Ton took a moment to thank Real Betis Balompié for letting EFDN host their 19th conference at their home ground.

After the official opening by Ton Real Betis Balompié had the opportunity to present. The presentation led by Rafael Muela Pastor was opened by Carlos Gonzalez de Castro and they talked about the values of Real Betis and working together for society.

“We have a great responsibility with the tools we have, to touch the heart of the people. We have this privilege to represent our values and colours and helping people. Let’s share and work together. Show the same commitment and be proud of that!”

Rafael Muela Pastor – Real Betis Balompié

After Real Betis we had the honour of having Dr. Niko Roorda who talked about a sustainable football world. Niko Roorda mentioned some very interesting points about how unfair the football world is at this moment and really made people think about how we could change the football world to make it a more fair place a sustainable place.

“To avoid the climate disaster we need to have each and everybody in the world, so also you: football world!”

Dr. Niko Roorda

In the end he mentioned everyone with his whole heart that the salaries some players earn are out of this world if we compare them with the amount of people who have to live in poverty.

During the day we enjoyed many more amazing presentations with presentations from: MatchWornShirt and UEFA Circular Economy. WatchWornShirt was pointing out the reach football shirts can have and the opportunities that clubs have with selling those shirts. A very interesting way of earning money for the club their foundations.

While UEFA took the opportunity to tell everyone the importance of the circular economy and what we have to do to make sure we know how to take care of our waste. A very interesting and personal presentation where everyone was aware of the problem which was described.

“We are all aware of the urgency for waste management also from a cost perspective. This is a really impactful option!”

Vincen Reulet – UEFA Circular Economy

During the day we also had the famous break out sessions. Four different presentations at the same time so everyone could pick a presentation at their own interest. During this session we had presentation from: KAA Gent, Montrose FC, Wolverhampton Wanderers and FC Sankt Pauli.

After the break out sessions and a deserved break we saw the end coming of the first day of the conference. After the break we had three more presentations: Twinning project, Football for the Goals and Supporting Refugees through Sport.

The Twinning Project was an unique presentation during the EFDN Conference. It was about the life that prisoners will have after they got out of prison. During the presentation they made clear that without any help 76% of the prisoners will recommit a crime and will highly return into prison. The Twinning Project is about giving the prisoners a chance and education to help them reintegrate in the society. By giving them the right education and a certificate the numbers decreased massively and more than 70% of the prisoners did also got their certificate.

To stay at the unfair world we are living in we moved ahead to Football for the Goals, a UN initiative. The presentation was about a Sri Lankan tea lady who had to work so hard for only 3 dollars a day while having her man sitting at home with a disability.

The last presentation of the day was about Supporting Refugees through sport. During the last presentation, the importance of integrating was being highlighted. This was highlighted because since 2012 the flee numbers tripled in the world and more than 103 million people are forced to be displaced. Through sport it is easier to help these people integrate in the society they ended up in. The hard part about the program is keeping track of the social impact they’ve made the last years. This is because it’s hard to keep track of the people you are helping without being to much in their lives.

After the presentations, everyone moved to the training ground and experienced how it is to play football while having a disabilty. This was the last part of the program and with the study visits ending we could close down the first and succesful conference day.