Internationally renowned sports stars teamed up in Zurich for the eighth Laureus Charity Night which raised a record sum of CHF652,000 (€540,000) to support sports-based community projects in Switzerland that have helped more than 10,000 children and young people.
World-famous Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara and Champions League winning football coach Ottmar Hitzfeld attended the hugely successful event, along with Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, his fellow Academy Member Mike Horn, and Belinda Bencic, the exciting new face in women’s tennis.
Laureus Ambassador Cancellara, former Olympic time trial champion and winner of some of cycling’s great classic races, said: “This is a very special and very important night and I am delighted to be here. My tough racing schedule means I cannot always support Laureus as much I would wish, but I will always do whatever I can to help this important cause. The money that we have raised tonight is vital to help us support Laureus projects in Switzerland which benefit young people.”
Among the other Ambassadors present were Swiss football legend Stéphane Chapuisat, ice skater Sarah Meier, Paralympic wheelchair racer Edith Hunkeler, mountain bikers Thomas Frischknecht and Christoph Sauser and gymnast Ariella Kaeslin together with personalities from business, politics and entertainment.
Rolf Theiler, President of Laureus Switzerland, welcomed over 600 guests to Hangar 9 at the Fliegermuseum (air museum) in Dübendorf. He said: “Sport is not about winning or losing; whoever plays sport always wins. The funds we have raised are essential to allow us to promote social inclusion and personal development of children and adolescents in our four sports projects. These are the real winners tonight.”
The funds raised came from proceeds from the sale of tables and unique auction items. Belinda Bencic, aged 17, recently voted Newcomer of the Year by the Women's Tennis Association, was portrayed live by a speed painter and the work was then sold. She said: “I was happy to help in any way I could. The work that Laureus does in Switzerland is excellent.”
Also for the auction, four-time Laureus World Sports Award winner Roger Federer donated an autographed racket and Laureus Global Partners IWC Schaffhausen offered a unique Pilot Watch Perpetual Calendar in platinum. Additionally on offer was an exclusive trip to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, a boxing session with Victoria's Secret Angels Adriana Lima, offered by TUI Suisse, and a visit to the Laureus World Sports Awards in Shanghai next year, provided by Ochsner Sport.
Earlier in the day Ottmar Hitzfeld, who won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich and retired as manager of Switzerland after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, was guest of honour at the final of the Laureus Street Soccer championship, which was won by the FC Breite from Basel, who were also present at the Laureus Charity Night to receive their trophy.
Hitzfeld, now a member of the board of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in Switzerland and Patron of Laureus Street Soccer, said: “This was the perfect chance to see a Laureus project in action and get close to the young people. It was a very successful competition and I was more than happy to be there to congratulate the winners. Sport has the capacity to bring together young people no matter what their backgrounds.”
Laureus Street Soccer is a football league for children and young people from ten to 21 years, which takes place in more than 100 municipalities in Switzerland. The teams took part in qualifying matches before coming to the final in Zurich.
Laureus currently supports four projects in Switzerland: Laureus Girls in Sports, Laureus Cavallo, Metro Laureus Sports by Blind Spot and Laureus Street Soccer by Infoklick.ch.