Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Barca Foundation: Sport in the Service of Social Development

Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Barca Foundation: Sport in the Service of Social Development

Article excerpt

"There is no cause which merits a higher priority than the protection and development of children, on whom the survival, stability and advancement of all nations--and, indeed, of human civilization--depends." (1) World Summit for Children, UNICEF, 30 September 1990

The United Nations acknowledges sport as an effective means of promoting health, development and peace, and fostering social inclusion and equality. It constitutes a unique tool of tolerance and empowerment for children and people with disabilities. These ideas are reiterated in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which highlights the essential role of sport in social progress. Sport breaks through the barriers that divide people and communities and can be used to help prevent conflicts and build peace. The FC (Futbol Club) Barcelona Foundation, established in 1994, promotes understanding between young people in school and in social settings, helping to reduce tensions and generate dialogue while encouraging the growth of self-confidence as well as trust in others. Our objective is to provide young people with the tools to become free individuals with values living in solidarity with others.

Since 2006, FC Barcelona, or Barca, has donated 0.7 per cent of its budget to the FC Barcelona Foundation, committing to the creation and development of a variety of solidary projects, with the objective of putting positive values into practice. Since 2010, the players and coaches of the professional sport sections of the club have contributed 0.5 per cent of their income to financing and boosting initiatives in Catalonia, Spain, and in other places where help is needed.

Not only do we prepare to be the best on the pitch, but we also strive to change the future of children. We consider sport to be a powerful vehicle for social inclusion, gender equality and youth empowerment, the benefits of which can be recognized far beyond sports stadiums.

FC Barcelona is followed by millions of fans around the world. The Club is not only considered a successful team but also a motivational instrument that generates hope and can be used as a catalyst for instilling values that help transform society and promote peace and understanding. Football has become a mass spectacle, with few stars and millions of fans. The FC Barcelona Foundation is aware of the sport's influence, which is why we are committed to promoting football as more than just a game. Its capacity to encourage integration and to transmit such noble values as respect for the opponent was perfectly summarized by the twentieth century writer Albert Camus, author of The Plague and The Stranger: "Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men I owe it to football". The Nobel Prize winner had been a promising goalkeeper in his native Algeria, but tuberculosis cut his football career short at the age of 17.

FC BARCELONA FOUNDATION PROJECTS BENEFIT 490,000 CHILDREN

The Foundation is one of the most esteemed social entities in the world. It defends values and promotes respect and equality for people everywhere. Barca represents these ideals and shared principles, which are increasingly necessary in the construction of a fairer society.

Football is the most egalitarian sport. It recognizes no frontiers, classes or backgrounds. FC Barcelona is aware of the hope that football generates in thousands of children and how its own players have become role models. The Club regards this as a huge responsibility, one that drives us to channel and broaden our corporate social goals. Our objective is not just to win trophies but also to influence and actively participate in structural changes, and to help young people prepare themselves for what really matters in life.

The Foundation contributes to improving society by transmitting values. We know that passion can lead to motivation. We seek to instil principles such as discipline and self-confidence, which are so important on the football pitch, in the everyday lives of children who are at risk of social exclusion. …

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