EFDN Interview- Iñigo Diaz de Cerio from Real Sociedad Fundazioa

1 July 2020

EFDN Interview- Iñigo Diaz de Cerio from Real Sociedad Fundazioa

The next EFDN Interview features Iñigo Diaz de Cerio who is Project Manager at Real Sociedad Fundazioa. He is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a striker for Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao, Córdoba CF, CD Numancia and CD Mirandés.

What is a typical day in your role like? What do you love the most about working for the club/foundation?

A normal day usually consists of answering the different requests that come to us from external organizations asking for collaborations or help from the Real Sociedad Foundation, meetings to follow up on specific projects that we are developing and meetings with agents from our region for new projects.

In addition, it is usually necessary to prepare documentation or make commercial visits to obtain sponsors. The best thing about my work is the option of being able to be with different people and help them through football, and above all being able to do it with Real Sociedad, which is one of the entities that are proud of generating a sense of belonging.

What are the main target areas of your foundation?

The main areas of the Foundation are the following:

• Leading football in Gipuzkoa (our province in the Basque Country), trying to reach agreements with all the football clubs in this territory.

• Social action where we include equality and inclusion, and environmental action.

• Promote physical activity in the community.

• Promote Euskera, our local language alongside Spanish, and culture.

What is the foundation’s most successful programme? Can you please explain in more detail what the project is about, including the projects main aims and objectives and the impact this programme has had, within the community?

We have several programmes that we are proud of, e.g. our team of people with intellectual disabilities and the multitude of activities we do with children and associations. But perhaps there is one that makes us different which is the Korner project. Korner is a festival of culture and football that we organise together with the city council of San Sebastián, our city, where we organise a one week programme including different cultural events where we seek to unite football and culture. We have held three editions where we have created plays, plastic art shows, cinema, literature and poetry among many other activities. The main objective is to unite two worlds that apparently go separately, such as football and culture, and bring them together from a different perspective.

What we are trying to achieve is that people from football get attracted to cultural spaces and that people from the cultural field get closer to the world of sports and football. I would also like to highlight our programme that we carry out to provide disabled young people with access to the school sports programme and involve them in sports. These are three examples of activities that we carry out at our foundation.

What kind of initiatives are you currently delivering to help to overcome the COVID 19 crisis?

We have made calls to older people who are members of Real Sociedad, we have made donations of material and food to different organisations. We have been in permanent contact with the organisations that work with the most disadvantaged people and we have worked together with them to provide them with safe physical spaces and clothing.

And when it comes to football: grassroots football clubs in our province are in serious financial trouble and we have made significant financial contributions to alleviate their financial problems.

What makes the role of clubs and their foundation’s so important during this crisis?

The ability to reach many people as a football club means that we can have different roles in this crisis. On the one hand, we can be a social role model in terms of behavior and solidarity for the people in the community. We can also be a voice for many causes to help people in a disadvantaged or borderline situation after the crisis. As a leading entity of our territory, we have the possibility of mobilizing resources to be able to live up to what the community demands.

How do you stay safe, healthy and fit? Do you have any tips or advice?

Thank you very much for thinking that I am fit, I did not manage as much. We all know the key to living a healthy life: Diet and physical exercise. I try to do it. I don’t always get it, especially food. In these times of pandemic, safety is also very important. Personal hygiene and social distance. We have to be responsible and respect these principles permanently.

What are your (foundation’s) goals for 2020 and the near future?

We want to continue growing in projects that generate a positive impact in our community without forgetting that we are a football club. We want to continue generating projects in collaboration with partnering associations and entities. Looking ahead, we are developing an action plan in which we seek two objectives: On the one hand, we want to increase the direct impact in helping to improve people’s lives and, on the other hand, we want this objective to be implemented in all areas of the club and to be an objective of Real Sociedad and not only of its Foundation.

EFDN believes that Football is #More than Football. Why do you think your foundation is #morethanfootball?

At Real Sociedad, we want to be the best on and off the pitch. The foundation takes care of everything that happens outside the pitch. We at the Fundación de la Real Sociedad say that our job is to worry about everything that happens in our community outside of football, so More than Football fits perfectly into our strategy.

Please choose another CSR-practitioner within or related to our network or suggest a CSR topic for one of our next interviews.

Football clubs generate a lot of hope. In our fans and in the young football players who begin to play at our club. But very few of those youngsters will ever play for our professional teams. We generate a lot of frustration in those young players. How do we manage this situation? How do we try to minimize the damage that our activity generates in terms of frustration in our young players? I think this is a topic from the point of view of Social Responsibility that should concern us.


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