first_imgWe came to Davos for three reasons. The first was to align our project, Common Goal, behind the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. They are the biggest collective agreement on how to address global development, agreed by stakeholders from almost 200 countries. We wanted to show we stand behind these goals.Second, we wanted to take the opportunity of being at the World Economic Forum to have as many conversations as we could. The professional footballers who sign up to Common Goal pledge to give 1% of their salary towards global social development. We wanted to talk to people about how we might work with politicians and business people to develop faster and to make a bigger impact.Third, and just as importantly, we wanted to talk about football. At the World Economic Forum not everyone necessarily understands the power of football. They might not know that the sport can help to achieve all kinds of outcomes relevant to societies. This is something Jürgen has been doing for 15 years. Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Malala Yousafzai Football features Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Topics Share on Facebook Read more Share via Email Juan Mata Juan became the first footballer to attend Davos. Our schedule was tight but the visit was beyond our expectations and we used the time as effectively as we could. We conducted a Facebook Live conversation, attended the Global Goals Gathering organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and had a series of conversations with business and political leaders. These included Bill Gates, Malala Yousafzai and the chief executive of Google, Sundar Pichai. We also spoke with the prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.There were two things that struck us about our encounters. First that people are surprised by the honesty of what we are trying to do. Sometimes people can’t believe there’s not a hidden agenda.Second we saw just how easy it is to engage in a deep conversation if you have football as a shared platform. It was a real ice breaker, for example, between Juan and Malala. There would not be a reason to have these conversations if football wasn’t there. People are interested to know what it feels like to win the Champions League but many we spoke to had a personal experience where football played a crucial role. That immediately allowed us to connect with them and form a base of trust, so important if we actually want to walk the walk and achieve our goals.People say that Davos is a talking shop and there is surely some truth in that. On the other hand there is a willingness that often translates to taking action. At the WEF 10% of delegates have a clear social impact agenda. We’re sat on panels, we have access, we have the chance to meet people and opportunities to amplify our influence.We are off to a good start with Common Goal; 40 players have agreed to take the pledge as well as a manager and the head of Uefa. But it is only a start and we have to get a critical mass in order to make real change. We are not expecting immediate results in terms of people committing to support Common Goal but we hope we were able to inspire people and, by shining a light on the industry, promote football as a means for changing the world. Davos speakers: from Donald Trump to Malala Yousafzai Share on WhatsApp Reuse this contentlast_img