Aleksander Čeferin #CommonGoal

Week 215 (25 November - 1 December 2017)

Money talks. This age-old expression is something you can expect to hear banded about in British pubs up and down the country every year on Premier League transfer deadline day.

To some, the vast sums of money that have become part of the furniture in modern football have tarnished what they once saw as the beautiful game. To others, the growth of the now multi-billion pound industry is merely a reflection of market forces and the mounting commercial interest in the world’s most popular sport.

However, most will agree that we very rarely hear good news stories about the millions upon millions of pounds that the world’s best players and the sport’s most senior administrators are paid each year. Perhaps this is what makes Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata and NGO streetfootballworld founder Jürgen Griesbeck’s Common Goal campaign all the more special.

The campaign, which helps a global network of over 120 local charities use football as a tool to tackle social issues, received a significant endorsement this week when UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin pledged his support. Ceferin is the latest high-profile name in football to join the inspiring movement, launched earlier this year. The campaign has currently seen over 30 professional players, including Mats Hummels, Giorgio Chiellini and Shinji Kagawa follow Mata’s lead in donating 1% of their salaries to football-related charities.

However, Ceferin’s support is particularly significant, as he is the first major football administrator to join the campaign and show his personal financial support for causes such as gender equality, peacebuilding and refugee integration.

Explaining his decision to join the Common Goal movement, Ceferin said:

“I firmly believe that football has the power to change the world and I was inspired by Juan Mata to join the Common Goal movement. It’s great to see a player leading this movement because footballers have benefitted greatly from football and this way they can give something back. I call upon everyone in the football family - players, coaches, clubs and leagues - to show they care about social responsibility and donate to causes that they believe in.”

Speaking after Ceferin’s announcement, Juan Mata said:

“I deeply thank Aleksander for the trust he puts in Common Goal and I can only applaud his gesture and agree with his strong conviction that football can help shape a better world. He is the first football leader to join our cause and I truly hope that many will follow his example.”

Jürgen Griesbeck added:

“Football aligned behind a shared vision for good can be incredibly impactful. If everyone gets behind Common Goal, in one way or another, we could change the lives of tens of millions of people across the globe, thanks to a common passion for the game.”

Mata and Griesbeck deserve huge credit for their work in mobilising football’s biggest stars to support a cause that can have a true impact. Ceferin’s endorsement will have far-reaching consequences and hopefully lead to the continued growth of high-profile support for the Common Goal campaign.

For using his powerful voice for such a worthy cause, Aleksander Ceferin is JTA Communicator of the Week.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons