The institutional collaboration aims to promote access to quality training and better opportunities for professional development.
Few things mobilize young people the way football does. Its impact isn’t just sporting but also social, reaching tens of millions of people around the world. A potential that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the eyes of the United Nations, whose intention is to use football to offer opportunities for professional development to unemployed youth. A task that the UN is beginning to put into practice, listening to the most authoritative voices in this field, as is the case of the Marcet Foundation.
Together with others industry’s top experts, our academy was invited to take part in ‘Football for Decent Jobs for Youth’, an international project organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) at its headquarters in Geneva. The United Nations agency wanted to gather the institutions that actively contribute to the promotion of youth employment through football, with the aim of kicking off the project, transmitting their vision, sharing their experiences and offering innovative solutions.
“Football is key for young people to have access to a quality education,” Cyril Pellevat, head of the UEFA Children’s Foundation said during the ceremony: “It’s not only about creating jobs but about encouraging entrepreneurship. ” An opinion shared by Guido Battaglia, of the Institute for Human Rights in Business (IHRB): “The right to education is a Human Right, and sport must consider this.”
“there is growing evidence that sports and academic talent are not only related, but also reinforce each other”
The intervention of Battaglia was applauded by the representatives of Marcet, a foundation created precisely with the aim of making football and studies compatible. “It is essential to normalize the sport-education binomial, which today remains an exception,” said the spokesman of our academy. “The idea remains that players are too busy to study, but in reality they rarely train more than two hours a day, it seems rather that there is a kind of ‘anti-education requirement’, a prejudice that needs to be banished in favor of a global education that allows young people to enter the labor market in case they do not manage to become professional football players “.
To exemplify the above, the representatives of the Marcet Foundation mentioned the Premier League, where the majority of players do not have any academic qualification. “This situation could perhaps be understood a few decades ago when the majority of English society was working class, but it is less understood today when 70% of the population continues to study after the age of 16. In practical terms, this means that English football turns its back on the middle class, that is to say on the vast majority of young people, despite the fact that there is growing evidence that sports and academic talent are not only related, but also reinforce each other by contributing to building a bridge between sport and quality job.”
In this sense, all the speakers at the Geneva meeting were in favour of enhancing the synergies between football and the world of entrepreneurship. “Through this sport, young people can learn useful skills to access the labour market,” said J. McDonald, head of the Everton FC Foundation. “With football, it is possible to learn languages and promote future employability,” said Hubert Rovers, co-founder of the European Football for Development Network (EFDN).
For his part, Johannes Axster, responsible for Streetfootballworld, wanted to emphasise that few things capture the attention of NEETs, that is a young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training: “Football attracts them because it reaches the whole world. Its practice, on a basic level, doesn’t necessarily need a complex infrastructure and that is the key to its success among young people and the reason it has to be used as an instrument… to promote social and economic integration. “
Axster also mentioned the importance of Erasmus+, a scholarship program sponsored bay the European Union, that the Marcet Foundation is also developing in collaboration with entities from football developing countries. A project with the purpose of providing future employability inside and outside the world of football. The same reason for which the United Nations called our Foundation to Geneva.