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Speakers underline importance of philanthropy in sport

9 mars 2012

With sport continuing to demonstrate its huge commercial potential, many organisations and individuals have recognised the need to use their clout to benefit society as a whole. Given that sport captivates viewers around the world, institutions can also generate significant awareness of worthy causes.

Speaking on the second day of the Global Sports Forum, Sandro Rosell, President of FC Barcelona, outlined a number of ways in which the club seeks to share the fruits of its success. “Philanthropy is one of the distinguishing features of FC Barcelona, and of the Catalan people. Barcelona really is more than a club. We really believe this.”

“We use our resources locally,” continued Rosell, “in the only way we know how: through sport.” The 48-year-old revealed that a percentage of the wages of all FC Barcelona players goes directly to charitable causes. He also spoke of the willingness of stars such as Xavi and Andrés Iniesta to get involved with volunteering work in the city.

Rosell’s focus, however, also extends globally. The FC Barcelona President said that the club is proud to work alongside organisations such as Unicef and the Bill Gates Foundation to “spread the value outside the city and Catalonia.” As Conseula Crespo of Unicef explained, the relationship benefits both parties: “Messages sent by footballers reach people immediately and have great credibility.”

NFL stars Justin Tuck and Tony Richardson also highlighted the importance of giving something back to society. The former, through his R.U.S.H for Literacy scheme, has helped countless young people in his native Alabama achieve reading and writing skills, whilst the latter has worked closely with a number of disadvantaged people in the same state. In the words of Tuck, “Sports stars have to be good role models, whether they like it or not.”

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