It is one of the most anticipated football matches of the year.
The Old Trafford showdown between Manchester United and Manchester City this Saturday is set to be the most expensive match-up in football history with 22 players worth over £670 million in transfer fees.
While we could be shaking our heads about this mind-boggling number, we shouldn’t forget that football is a universal language and an aspect of the sport that is perhaps less talked about, is its ability to impact communities and change lives at grassroots level.
Laureus-supported projects which use football as a tool for social change are indeed at work on every continent. Slum Soccer in India, Football United in Australia, Street League in the UK, Grupo Desportivo de Manica in Mozambique and Bola Pra Frente in Brazil are just a few examples which use football to tackle social problems such as gang violence, lack of education, racial intolerance and HIV/AIDS.
For many years, Laureus has also been a frontrunner in recognising football as a force for good. For instance, Laureus awarded FC Barcelona with the 2007 Spirit of Sport Award in recognition of the team’s partnership with UNICEF to benefit children across the developing world affected by HIV/AIDS and only recently, at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2016 in Berlin, we teamed up with legends such as Cafu, Raul, Luis Figo, Carles Puyol and Alessandro del Piero.
We also have witnessed incredible stories which have seen icons of the game give back to society. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo gave all of his Champions League bonus prize money to charity and Laureus Ambassador Mesut Ozil also gave all his World Cup winnings to charity, as well as paying for cleft lip surgery for many young kids in Brazil following his World Cup success in 2014.
Laureus Sport for Good, with the help of its Laureus Academy Members and Ambassadors, will keep working hard using football, and sport in general, to keep making a real difference on the lives of millions of young people around the world. And with that, keep honouring the legacy of Laureus’ first Patron Nelson Mandela who so famously said that “sport has the power to change the world.”