Children and young people from the Cañada Real district of Madrid, known as one of Spain’s most economically disadvantaged areas, now have a new safe place to play sport. The UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx, the main sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, have given a new football pitch to the Red Deporte y Cooperación, a Madrid-based non-profit organisation that is part of the streetfootballworld network, with the aim of using football to drive social change.
Carlos Marchena, the former Spanish international and European and world champion, took part in the inauguration ceremony and joined a training session, to the delight of the children present. The brand-new, fully functional pitch is environmentally sustainable and was built in less than a week. It is equipped with floodlighting and changing facilities, and its innovative and modular design has many advantages, including low running costs.
Pascal Torres, general secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children, said: “It is clear how powerful a tool football can be in uniting communities, and playing football provides an ideal opportunity for children from different backgrounds to integrate, learn and develop. We are delighted that FedEx shares our vision of extending access to football to all, and that by working together we have enabled thousands of children from this diverse community to play and grow together, safely.”
The pitch strengthens the already solid portfolio of the UEFA Foundation for Children, which has recently celebrated its first anniversary. The foundation acted as a facilitator and coordinator, while streetfootballworld, the global non-profit network, developed, managed and implemented the project.
FedEx, the world’s largest express transportation company, provided financial assistance as part of FedEx Cares, a $200m programme aimed at creating opportunities in more than 200 communities by 2020.
Brenda McWilliams-Piatek, vice-president of marketing and communications for FedEx Express Europe, said: “At FedEx, we are absolutely committed to investing socially in the markets where we operate, and this project is an excellent example from our global ‘delivering for good’ programme of how we use our resources and network to provide local communities with access to facilities that would otherwise be out of their reach.”