Little Champions playing for equality
Football, the most followed sport in the world, creates a unique bond with those who practice and follow it, and conveys positive and passionate values as an engine of prosper. Therefore, Banco Santander supports its potential for transformation with activities like Santander Football Can Match, where young ones play for equality.
They’ve spent days with butterflies in their stomachs, telling their friends what they were going to do, looking at the calendar to see how many days were left, reminding their parents not to miss it. A title wasn’t being played for, but for them there was no better prize than the one they were about to receive. Finally, the day arrived. That Thursday, 20 very special little footballers spent the morning emulating their idols playing football in the middle of Plaza Mayor in Madrid, the greatest stadium possible for these young athletes. A privilege for them and a joy to those who love them most.
The great excitement of the match is part of the complete program of activities that Banco Santander, as the main sponsor of the event, has arranged for the celebration of the Final of the UEFA Champions League this Saturday at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid. In particular, it is the Football Can initiative launched by the company headed by Ana Botín, which focuses on the enormous potential for the greatest sport on the planet to help society prosper through the transformative power that people who practice and follow it experience. A prosper confirmed by the former player Ronaldo Nazario, the global image of the company, through his own experience: “I was born in a very poor neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro and thanks to football I was able to fulfill my dreams. It is possible.”
It is precisely this potential that has led the company to become the official sponsor of the top-level European football competition for the next three years. This way, Banco Santander deepens its relationship with the greatest sport on the planet, after having for years sponsored the biggest football competitions in Latin America, like the CONMEBOL Libertadores, and the Liga Santander in Spain. For the president of the entity, Ana Botín, with this agreement “We continue supporting the sport because it is another way to contribute to the prosper of the communities where we operate.”
Santander Football Can Match
Not a single Liverpool player jumped onto the charming pitch in the Plaza Mayor. Nor any of the Tottenham players, the two finalists on Saturday. The “teams” that the small footballers belonged to, don’t feature on the pages of newspapers or have as many minutes on television, but they play a totally essential function in society.
The twenty little ones has a great time in the heart of the capital of Spain, children between 8 and 12 years old, belonging to 9 NGOs which stand out for their commitment to the integration of children with illnesses, children with special needs, and people at risk of social exclusion or residents of some of the most disadvantaged places on the planet.
The organizations that have participated in this special game have been:
- Cesal,an organization with 30 years of experience which promotes the development of some of the most disadvantaged people in the world.
- Fundación También that, through the practice of adapted sport, seeks out the inclusion of people with disabilities.
- Deporte y Desafío (Sport and Challenge),whose main objective is the social integration of people with physical and intellectual disabilities through sport.
- Prodis,an association which, through a commitment to ethics, fights to improve the living conditions of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
- AECC, The Spanish Association Against Cancer, an entity leading the cause in Spanish society to reduce the impact caused by cancer and to improve people’s lives.
- Balia, a foundation whose main mission is to promote the social inclusion of children at risk of social exclusion.
- Down Madrid, whose purpose is the defense of the right to life and the dignity of people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, as well as the promotion and creation of activities aimed at achieving their full integration.
- Red Deporte, with two decades of experience and determination in the value of sport as a tool of social change in the world.
- Unoentrecienmil, the only NGO in Spain committed to dedicating the benefits of their activities entirely to annual research projects against leukemia in children.
The twenty little champions could not have asked for better partners on this adventure, in the football field number 7 installed at the Fan Zone organized by Banco Santander in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. Ronaldo Nazario, Ambassador of the UEFA Champions League, was tasked with performing the honor.
In this match, unlike the final to be played in the Metropolitan Stadium, all the children won and raised the trophy together for equality.