So what has football got to do with peace? The final of the African Cup of Nations, between Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, takes places in Abidjan, capital of the Ivory Coast, this Sunday 11th February. While the attention of the footballing world will be on the game, there is a compelling and positive sideshow where football and footballers become influential peacemakers - click on Football with Values tab above then AFCON Footballers as Peacemakers

So what has football got to do with peace? The final of the African Cup of Nations, between Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, takes places in Abidjan, capital of the Ivory Coast, this Sunday 11th February. While the attention of the footballing world will be on the game, there is a compelling and positive sideshow where football and footballers become influential peacemakers. 

Dider Drogba – football and peacemaking in the Ivory Coast Didier Drogba, former Chelsea Footballer, and Ivory Coast international, lived in a country that had experienced  full scale civil war since 2002,  between a predominantly Muslim north and a government controlled south. Drogba called for a stop to the war which led to a five year ceasefire and in 2010 he was included in Time Magazines list of the 100 most influential people in the world because of his mediation efforts. In 2011 he was appointed to the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Of course Drogba was not the only or even the main cause of enabling a peace process to succeed, but he did provide the inspiration and belief that a ceasefire and a peace agreement was necessary and could succeed. Recent years have seen a significant improvement in peacefulness in Cote d’Ivoire, and in 2020 the country improved across all three Global Peace Index (GPI) domains. The Global Peace Index recognised as the definitive source for measuring peace internationally and is published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The story of how Drogba helped to make peace by focusing on the passion for football not only in the Ivory Coast, but across the continent of Africa, is told in these videos. Click to watch.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byxA6yHfSfI  (on call to end the war) and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15001107 (on Drogba's role on Truth and Reconciliation  Commission)  

DRC Team protest for peace  At the beginning of their match against the Ivory Coast in the semi- final of the AFCON tournament, the DRC team used the platform provided by the globally televised game to protest against the killing of civilians in the east of the DRC. Watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXuvsYCb2ws Watch here to see an AL Jazeera Newsfeed about the significance of the conflict https://youtu.be/AM6c70D3o14

Read the story here From Rwanda Dispatch Online 7 Feb 2024 

hlight the ongoing humanitarian crisis in their country’s eastern region. The mineral-rich area has been plagued by armed groups, including the notorious M23 rebels, for decades, displacing millions and leaving countless civilians dead. DR Congo striker Cedric Bakambu took to social media, urging the world to pay attention to the plight of his nation, stating, “Everyone sees the massacres in eastern Congo. But everyone is silent.” He called for the same energy used to discuss the Afcon to be directed towards addressing the conflict. The team’s captain, Chancel Mbemba, along with over half the squad, expressed solidarity with the victims in a video, pledging to “play for them”. This was followed by individual messages from players like Gedeon Kalulu, declaring, “I am Goma. I am Congolese. We want peace.” This campaign appears to be part of a larger online initiative driven by Fonarev, a state fund supporting victims of sexual violence in the conflict. It echoes messages shared by popular musicians like Fally Ipupa and GIMS. The conflict is fueled by the struggle for control of valuable minerals like gold, diamonds, and cobalt, a crucial component in lithium-ion batteries. A recent TikTok campaign linked the use of vapes to human rights abuses in DR Congo, as cobalt is a key component in their production. DR Congo, despite boasting two continental titles and a World Cup appearance, has struggled in recent years due to political instability and economic decline. The team’s success in the Afcon has offered a glimmer of hope, with Yoane Wissa, their top scorer, expressing their desire to bring joy to a nation burdened by hardship.

Football is a worldwide industry. Deloitte has estimated that the European football market in 2018 was worth Euro 25.5 billion (£21.9 billion), driven by the ‘big five’ leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France. Beyond Europe, football in the world game, a global sport and business with 211 national associations affiliated to FIFA, the world governing body, known also as ‘the United Nations of Football. But to adapt an old cliche, football is more than a game and it is more than a business. Football is rooted in the communities which sustain it, and it is attached to values which represent its importance in and to those communities. In Europe, a number of documents - the Helsinki Declaration (2000), the European Model of Sport (2000) and the European Sports Charter (2001) – all established the idea that sport was of social value, while the European Commission White Paper on Sport (2007) has called for using the potential of sport for social inclusion, integration and equal opportunities. Football foundations have developed projects to prevent and deal with a wide range of social and community causes, bullying and violent behaviours in  schools, to integrating  refugees and embracing  diversity in local communities. Football clubs also promote values and ideals which they require their players to live up to - personal values such as humility, ambition, effort, team work, trust, honesty; and social values such as tolerance, inclusion, equality, diversity and community cohestion and peacebuilding.This new feature of the website is about individual foootballers who have distinguished themselves not only by their acheivments on the pitch, but just as importantly by their personalities and values, and the social values they espouse. Follow this tab to hear their stories, beginning with Lucas Radebe of Leeds United and his relationship with Nelson Mandela in the next page below,.

Football meets international politics. So what do we think about the World Cup in Qatar? The tournament starts on Sunday when hosts Qatar play Ecuador. We are all aware of the concerns about holding the tournament there – why Qatar was awarded the World Cup in the first place, issues about treatment of migrant workers, women’s rights, LGBT+ persecution, repression of political dissent. Given that the tournament will go ahead, what is your view? Will you boycott it, as in not follow it on TV? Reprimand others for watching it because doing so turns a blind eye to abuses of human rights? Or accept that it should go ahead and use the power of football to shine a spot-light on abuses and encourage liberalisation and reforms in Qatar? This is the view taken by the football community led by the players and their football associations. “We believe in the power of football to make further positive and credible contributions to progressive sustainable change in the world.” Go to www.football4community.co.uk to find out more. A group of major European national football associations have demanded that FIFA meets its commitment in urging Qatar to ensure workers’ rights ahead of the World Cup. The 10-country group — which includes the FAs of England and Wales — urged FIFA to encourage the establishment of a workers’ rights institution in Qatar and an effective compensation fund for migrant workers. The FAs of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland are also part of the group. “We acknowledge, and welcome, as we have done in the past, that significant progress has been made by Qatar, particularly with regards to the rights of migrant workers, with the impact of legislative changes demonstrated in the International Labour Organisation’s recent reports,” the FAs said in a statement. “We welcome the assurances given by the Qatari Government and by FIFA regarding the safety, security and inclusion of all fans who travel to the World Cup. “However, embracing diversity and tolerance also means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and they apply everywhere. “We will continue to support the momentum for positive, progressive change and continue to advocate for a conclusive outcome and update on the two key outstanding issues we have been discussing with FIFA for a long time. “FIFA has repeatedly committed to deliver concrete answers on these issues — the compensation fund for migrant workers, and the concept of a migrant workers center to be created in Doha — and we will continue to press for these to be delivered. “We believe in the power of football to make further positive and credible contributions to progressive sustainable change in the world.” See the collective statement by the Australian national team the Socceroos here 

   

The Women's Euros 2022 Final - Celebrating the Beautiful Game


The beautiful game reaches another pinnacle today as England meet Germany in the Women’s Euro Final at Wembley at 17.00 


Get in the mood musically with these three  videos – 


Justin Sullivan’s Bradford based band New Model Army celebrating the Beautiful Game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3SFkEiucQg 

Shakira, this time for Africa, 2010 World Cup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRpeEdMmmQ0 

But best of all this little Lioness who knows what its all about! https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/football/62328004   



                    Banned by the FA between 1921 and 1971, women’s football is now on a high.


In England the Women’s Super League was launched in 1971, and a world record attendance of 91,648 was set at the Camp Nou Barcelona in April 2022 when Barcelona beat Wolfsburg 5-1 in the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final. Nearly 70,000 people watched England against Austria in the group stage of the Women’s Euros at Old Trafford earlier in July, and a full house will see the final at Wembley on 31st July 2022. 

Watch a fascinating documentary on BBC I Player about the future of the game, narrated by Alex Scott, - click on her photo on the top of this page.


For an equally fascinating video from TIFO on the role of Suffragettes like Nettie Honeyball in the origins of the women's game, click on the photo below.  Nettie Honeyball is in the back row, second from the left.

                                          

Since  2012 The Luxembourg Peace Prize has been awarded by the World Peace Forum and the Schengen Peace Foundation to recognise outstanding contributions in the field of peace. In 2022 a new category was establised to honour outstanding contributions in sport and peace. The first winner of this award was the Barca Foundation, the educational arm of Football Club Barcelona. 


To find out mote about the Foundation and its work, click here Barca Foundation Wins Luxembourg Peace Prize.

Click here for more details about the work of the Barca Foundation

In November 2021 the Department published the findings of the Independent Fan Led Review chaired by MP Tracy Crouch, former Minister for Sport at the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). The government recently announced that it will be implementing all the main findings of the report including the proposal to have an Independent Regulator for football. This is probably the biggest change in the way in which football hs been governed since the formation of the Football Association in 1863. 

How will the changes affect you as a fan? Make sure you keep up to speed with the reform proposals. Some say that the proposals will endanger the success of the game worldwide and that football should not be controlled by politicians. Others that  the reforms will make football more inclusive and provide proper regulation to ensure the healthy future of the game and give a voice and influence to fans and commuities, recognising football clubs as community assets. Keep informed - where do you stand? -  tune in to a debate by ckicking here at the Institute for Economic Affairs between those against regulation (like Simon Jordan, and those in favour, like MP Damian Collins. Follow this on Twitter at @football4C (football4Community) where you can voice your opinion and join a poll on the pros and cons. 



Dear England  and Salsa Victory! Great to see fans back at the Euros and a lot of exciting football to keep us entertained. With Wales and Scotland now out of the tournament, England now the last home nation facing Germany on Tuesday. Read the letter Dear England written by Gareth Southgate published in The Players Tribune just before the tournament started. The letter is about the passion of the game but also about how and why football has a responsibility to the wider community, to use its collective voice on matters such as equality, inclusivity and racial injustice. Read Southgate’s letter here

Ten years ago the England team arrived in Colombia to play in the Under 20s World Cup, and danced their way through Colombian security ( watch here) Can the English team do the same to the German defence on Tuesday?

The proposal to create a Euopean Super League is a real threat to the integrity of the game and its organic link with community. One  reason why  the competitive culture of the game should be preserved is colourfully  expressed in the poem about Leeds United, honouring their defeat of Manchester City, one of the clubs associated with the proposal, by the USA Brooklyn based podcaster, Ode to Bielsa's Boys, here. A very good summary of the European Super League proposal is presented in the TIFO video here. The decisive opposition to the proposed ESL by Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher is presented here. 

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We begin this feature by reflecting on the career and life of the Leeds United player Lucas Radebe, who introduced Nelson Mandela to the City of Leeds when he was made an honorary freeman of the City in 2001. Coming from the township of Soweto in South Africa, where he was born in 1969, Lucas embodied the values of humility and commitment to community, and also symbolised the struggle of black South Africans for liberation from apartheid. You can watch Mandela speaking in Leeds, introduced by Lucas Radebe

and watch Radebe on Leeds United Stories, produced by The City Talking Studios.


In January this year, Bayern Munich donated 100,000 euros for the reconstruction of a synagogue in Munich, as part of the ongoing commitment of the club to practice a culture of remembrance in different ways with the aim of combating racism and discrimination of all kinds. 


The club adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in another effort to further strengthen their culture of remembrance. 


In English football, Chelsea have had a Say No to Antisemitism project  since March 2018, part of their Foundation’s Building Bridges campaign. Chelsea work with a variety of organisations, including the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Jewish Museum, the Community Security Trust, Kick It Out, the World Jewish Congress, the Anne Frank House and Maccabi GB. Watch #We Remember  


The project is innovative and wide ranging, so football4community encourages you to visit the Chelsea Foundation website to find out more. The project includes information about the relationship between football and the British Jewish community historically, and also runs screenings of the documentary film Liga Terezin, that tells the incredible story of the football league which took place in Ghetto Theresienstadt, 40 miles North West of Prague (now in the Czech Republic). The film is used to promote knowledge of the horrors of the holocaust. See more, including a trailer for the film, here Liga Terezin http://www.ligaterezin.com/


An inspirational story about holocaust survival is the story of Bela Guttman, the Hungarian Jew who not only survived the concentration camps but went on to be successful professional footballer and a manager, winning the European Cup with Benfica in 1961. Read about his life in David Bolchover’s The Greatest Comeback - from Genocide to Football Glory. 


British football has a long history of relationship between Jewish communities and football, explored in the case of Leeds in the fascinating accounts written by Anthony Clavane – notably The Promised Land – A Northern Love Story about the relationship between the club and the community, and its importance to the Jewish community in Leeds. Also his brilliantly entitled Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here, about Jewish involvement in English professional football. 


Leeds have had a number of progressive owners from the Jewish community of the city. Leslie Silver was Chairman of Leeds United FC from 1983 to 1996 and had a strong and positive understanding of and commitment to the club community relationship, initiating the first projects at Leeds to require players to engage with community programmes. Read more about him in the biography by John Fisher, Painting the Town Silver.

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Roughly a quarter of England’s 92 league clubs could be regularly flooded within the next three decades, and the average grassroots pitch in England already loses five weeks a season to bad weather.  Will your football club be under water by 2050? Click here to watch a TIFO Video on the climate threat to football and watch this space for more on how football and football fans can respond. 

Watch the video here 


  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by world leaders at the historic Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015.
  • Encompassing everything from health to gender equality and education, the Goals are mobilizing efforts around the world to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change by 2030, while ensuring that no one is left behind. 
  • Football for the Goals follows successful collaborations between the UN and creative agencies, media organizations, and the publishing and the mobile industries, among others, to promote action on the SDGs. 
  • FFTG engages with football stakeholders and major actors to leverage the outreach power of football and the sport’s global footprint in advancing sustainability, equality, human rights and climate action by promoting actions and practices that support achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Watch the video here


The 17 Sustainable Development Goals - the UN 2030 Agenda Listed in the Graphic Below


The BBC Sport 2050 project focuses on the environmental issues faced by sport within the next 30 years. Do the quiz here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/57068988


What is your football club doing in the field of climate change and the environment? 


Please share what you find by emailing webmaster@football4community.co.uk


Mo Salah is world famous as an outstanding and exciting footballer at Liverpool. What is less well known is the effect he has had on positive community relations in the city - the so called Mo Salah effect. Salah is a practicing Muslim and he is seen not only as a great footballer but also as a humble and inspirational person. As a role model with these qualities his influence on community relations in the city has been powerful in conveying a postivie image of Islam and Muslim people. Stanford University conducted research into his influence off the pitch and concluded that the 'Mo Salah'  effect had a significant impact on reducing Islamophobic behaviours and attitudes and behaviours in Liverpool.  Read a summary of the Stanford University study here and watch Middle East Eye The Egyptian King here. Who else would you put in this category in the world of football? There are many of them - Marcus Rashford campaigning on food poverty? Lilian Thuram on anti racism? Didier Drogba as a peacemaker in the Ivory Coast.? We will be covering many more cases like this on the website. 

Find out more about the Asian Inclusion Monitoring Scheme here. 

Read about the ways in which football and footballers contribute to their communities in the PFA Community Magazine - click on the image to read the magazine.  Over 33,000 player visits were recorded by the PFA for the 2019-2020 season covering support for projects in education, health, social inclusion, anti-racism, disability; and 450+ Community Ambassadors worked to support projects related to community engagement. 

Athletic Bilbao was one of the first football clubs in Spain, formed in 1898 by British migrant workers and young Basques who had studied in England. The club has always been strongly rooted in Basque culture and values and has explicitly recognised the importance of locality and culture in its Principles of Origins. The club embodied these principles by developing a unique sporting philosophy is governed by a code which states that Athletic Club may only field players who have come through its own academy or the academies of other clubs in the Basque Country, or players who were born in the following territories which constitute the Basque Country: Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Alava, Navarre, Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre. The club also explicitly recognsies and supports the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, a global agreement by all UN member states to support and promote environmental and development goals while promoting peace, justice and security. Uniquely also Ath Club Bilbao has a One Club Award, made to footballers in any club who have played all of their professional careers for one club. 

Warch this TIFO video on Bilbao's One Club Award and the values and ethics of the club


Photo of Hector Bellerin of Arsenal, socailly conscious foootballer, invests in Forest Green Rovers.

Forest Green Rovers currently play in League Two of the English Foorball League. The Gloucestershire-based club have been recognised by Fifa and the United Nations as the world's most environmentally friendly team.It went fully vegan in 2015 and became the world's first carbon-neutral sports club in 2017. The club Chairman is Dale Vince, who is described as a "green energy" industrialist. A former New Age traveller, he is the owner of the electricity company Ecotricity. Interestingly, Hector Bellerin,  a Spanish footballer who currently plays for Arsenal, is also a shareholder in Forest Green Rovers. 

Bellerin, who wants to support the club's green agenda, said: "Forest Green are showing others the way."The Spain international added: "So many people feel there's no solution to the world's problems, but Forest Green are already doing plenty."I'm so excited to be part of the FGR family. I'll be helping where I can, supporting people who want to change the world for the better."The 25-year-old is known for being a socially conscious footballer and recently raised money to plant 60,000 trees in the Amazon rainforest. His new role with FGR will see him work with chairman Dale Vince and the club on raising the environmental agenda in football - among clubs, leagues and fans.  (story from BBC)

How should football change to remain the world game? We begin this series by looking at why the proposal for a European Super League collapsed so quickly. Watch the TIFO presentation How the European Super League fell apart - A Timeline,  here

The Football Supporters' Association were at the forefront of opposition to the ESL helping to mobilise supporters organisations across Europe in protest against the ESL, see here FSA and opposition across Europe

In the week or so since the promoters of the idea withdrew their plans, there has been a wide-ranging debate about the future of football which moves the issue beyond protest to generating  proposals for alternatives. In this space we will follow these ideas, many of which revolve around new models of governance, involving varying levels of  supporter's involvement; much broader representation and diversity in club ownership and management; new funding models, including controlling players salaries and introducing levies to distribute income from football from the top of the pyramid to the grassroots. We highlight some of these proposals here, beginning with a survey published in The Times 24th April, where a panel of experts presented their views on the ESL plan and what alternative plans they would recommend. Their views are summarised in the document which you can download here. 




Goals for Peace was formed in 2012 when Milo Butterick and Tim Woodhouse settled to live in the city of Bucaramanga and met Willington Ortiz, a local leader who had the same objective of implementing a program in favour of the community. Support and facilitate at-risk youth and children to initiate change towards a culture of peace in their communities, using the power and appeal of sport as well as activities such as music, arts, enterprise, language and nutrition. 

Learn more about Goals for Peace/ Goles por la Paz Colombia at https://youtu.be/8CkSUXHjiPY

You can help the project by donating at globalgiving.org here Donate to Fundacion Goles por la Paz (globalgiving.org)

According to the latest figures from UNHCR there are over 80 million forcibly displaced people worldwide - 45 million are IDPs (internally displaced people);  4.2 million are asylum seekers; 26 million are refugees. Find out more about how football  can help to support refugees and asylum seekers at https://refugeesandfootball.org/  and for the very latest initiatives of Amnesty International and The Football Association in support of women refugees through football, see e Football Welcomes Refugees programme. In January 2021 the Football Association, in partnership with Amnesty International, guide and online training series which aims to increase refugee women’s participation in grassroots football.   

Watch the Amnesty International Football Association Football Welcomes Women Refugees Launch Event here.

West Ham marks International Women's Day 2021 with football for an engaged community, promoting equality and tackling prejudice and discrimination - click on link 

West Ham Women challenge sexist tweets - click on link 

See Aston Villas Elizabeta Ejupi of Aston Villa talk about how football helped her as a Kosovan refugee 


Pep Guardiola ex Barcelona and Manchester City manager wears OPen Arms logo Hoodie (from The Athletic)

Pep Guardiola has been seen ove the past few months wearing a hoodie with the logo of the Spanish NGO Open Arms prominently displayed during the televised matches of Manchester City. He does this to support the objectives of Open Arms "...  to protect the life of the most vulnerable in emergency situations. We originate from a sea rescue company with more than 20 years experience on the Spanish coasts.We protect the lives of those abandoned in international waters fleeing from wars, persecution and poverty. On the mainland we collaborate with healthcare teams and frontline research teams to face health emergencies or any other kind of crisis that requires immediate action."  Click here to find out more about Open Arms - where you can buy an Open Arms Hoodie like Pep and be cool while also supporting the NGO!

Pep Guardiola said ....

“The work that Open Arms does is extraordinary in helping to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society,” Guardiola tells The Athletic. “So many of those who are seeking refuge from war, poverty and persecution continue to find themselves in unimaginably difficult situations, often suffering illness, separation from family and, in many cases, loss of life.“Open Arms has built a framework to protect these displaced people, both in the emergency stage when they are at sea but also in educating and supporting them on land. I want to do all I can to help ensure that the valuable work continues.” (from The Athletic 26 Feb 2021).

And Open Arms is also supported by former Barcelona players Xavi Hernandez, Carlos Puyol, and Andres Iniesta, while Foundation of Barcelona FC have funded a programme.

Football has had a strong association with supporting refugees in recent years, partnering with Amnesty International in a high profile Football Welcomes Refugees programme. In January 2021 the Football Association, in partnership with Amnesty International, launched a guide and online training series which aims to increase refugee women’s participation in grassroots football. 




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Watch Aston Villa's Elizabeta Ejubi's experience of thr Football Welcomes Refugees programme here 


The population of the south of Thailand outside of the tourist areas is largely Malay Thai Muslims, many of them in fishing communities descended from Indonesian and Malaysian peoples. The video here is an uplifting story about overcoming poverty and a shortage of land to play football. The south of Thailand is also a place with an ongoing conflict between Muslim groups and the Thai state and military. Read here about how football can be used as a force for peace - Football Bridges the South Divide, from the Bangkok Post.

This podcast was first broadcast on Monocle Online. Listen to it by clicking here

Sport Unites

Sport Unites is the Mayor of London's  flagship community sports programme. It supports his long-term vision to make London the most active and socially-integrated city in the world. This programme harnesses the power of sport to bring people from different backgrounds together – strengthening our communities whilst improving the physical and mental health of all Londoners. Sport Unites funds valuable initiatives across the capital.To be the first to know about funding opportunities. See this video covering the projects in the Sport Unites Awards for 2019, focusing on Salaam Peace and other inspiring projects in London. 


Uniting the Movement is Sport England's  10-year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity.  

Download Sport England 2021 Uniting the Movement  - Ten year  strategy document here.

David Goldblatt in his book The Age of Football  makes the claim, which I believe is true, that football is first not only as a world sport but also as one of the world's most popular cultural forms. It bears comparsion to the worlds religions, he says, in its scale, regularity and the profundity of its rituals. Despite the commercialisation, he says that almost universally in football cultures that games should  not be fixed, and that sucess and failure are collectivley shared. Football is an arena and a cultural world in which community, from the local to the global, can be shared and celebrated. 

In this setion of football4community we present these intense communal experiences, beginning with Scottish club Hibs singing Sunshine on Leith following their win in the Scottish FA Cup in 2016

 Click here to watch 

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