By Grupo Zeta.

Its millions of fans, the influence of football players, and the amount of money that the industry moves, make it the sport most capable of changing and improving society. Therefore, Banco Santander shows support of its transformative potential through the initiative Football Can.

Football is capable of uniting countries and people of all races, ages, and backgrounds. Its impact on people is immense and in just minutes can move one from happiness to sadness, from hopelessness to euphoria. Such sport has a universal language and transmits the values with which it is identified: fair play, teamwork, and equality are some of them.

That’s why Banco Santander considers football to be one of the most important agents of social change in the world. And this is exactly what it wants to transmit through the concept of Football Can and its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League. This is the best way to show the commitment of the entity presided by Ana Botín with its mission, through a new passionate way.

There are initiatives of football players themselves demonstrating this mission. For example, the Spaniard Juan Mata, who plays for Manchester United, created Common Goal in 2017, a project supported by Banco Santander that encourages footballers to donate 1% of their wages to be given to organizations that help the world’s most vulnerable people.

Another project is made up of 389 members and has raised more than 700,000 euros for several projects. This is the story of Tiempo de Juego, in the community of Cazucá, Colombia, where young people are affected by drug trafficking and the large number of gangs in the area.

Common Goal has also given a part of what they raise to Street League in the UK, which offers athletic training and skill training courses to young people at risk of exclusion.

Another program with a similar profile is Skillz Girl, in Nigeria. There, young women have difficulties with access to health and sexual reproduction education, which makes them more vulnerable to diseases like HIV. Thanks to the program, young women can get informed and are trained to develop skills that empower them as women while having the opportunity to play football.

Help in overcoming trauma

Another organization that understands football as an engine of change is the Fundación Fútbol Más, which, since their foundation in 2008, has helped more than 5,000 children in countries like Mexico, Haiti, Ecuador, and Kenya.

Through sports infrastructure in the area, the organization takes back public spaces turning them into protective and educational places. Its goal is the resilience and happiness of vulnerable children who have experienced trauma.

The Fundación Fútbol Más organizes social sports classes and leagues. Participants are divided into four age-based classes and participate in activities for nine months.

In 2018 at the World Football Summit 2018, the Project was awarded a prize in the category of Mejor Inicitativa Responsabilidad Social Corporativa de Fútbol (Best Social Corporate Responsibility Initiative in Football).