New member: EFDN welcomes Fortuna Sittard!
The European Football for Development Network (EFDN) is happy to announce Dutch Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard to the network. Fortuna Verbindt (‘connects’), the CSR department of the club, hopes by joining EFDN to generate a better CSR strategy and to share ideas at network meetings and conferences and learn at these events from other clubs.
Dutch Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard counts as the oldest professional football club in the Netherlands. Fortuna Sittard was created on July 1st, 1968, after a merger between RKSV Sittardia from Sittard and Fortuna ’54 from neighbour town Geleen. Fortuna ’54, the initiator of the Dutch professional league, achieved quite a bit of success with twelve seasons at the highest level and two KNVB (Dutch National) Cups won. After playing in the Eredivisie since 1956, Fortuna ’54 even finished second, fourth and third in three consecutive seasons. Fortuna Sittard, in their more recent history, got promoted three times to the Eredivisie. For the last time in their anniversary season, the club celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.
Fortuna Sittard is more than a football club. They are in the heart of their local community and they believe it is important to create value off the field as well. Under the name ‘Fortuna Verbindt’ (Fortuna Connects), Fortuna Sittard fulfils the social role that fits and belongs to a professional football club at the highest level in the Netherlands. Fortuna Sittard makes a recognisable and positive contribution to the welfare and quality of society in the regions of South and Central Limburg. With its social policy, the club wants to play a binding role in society. The organisation is there to impact people’s lives, especially the ones who have, due to different causes, less chance of getting quality in life.
Fortuna Sittard is a club for everyone, regardless of origin, religion, social situation, status or disability. Through football and Fortuna Sittard as a unifying force, we as a club want to reach different target groups in the region. And to make a positive contribution to society. Some projects for this pillar are listed below:
Fortuna Verbindt invites elderly people with beginning forms of dementia to the stadium. Here they use old pictures and attributes to start conversations about the history of Fortuna Sittard. Together with the participants they also go to the stands and to their museum, which is located in the stadium.
In this programme, Fortuna focuses on younger people between the age of 17 and 27 who have a problem getting a job, in any way. Fortuna Verbindt makes them part of the family by getting them a Fortuna Sittard outfit and reaching them the benefits of working at the club. They do different things like cleaning the stadium or preparing lunch for the players. All with one goal: giving them lessons in the basic elements in life, like structure and easy work. After this programme the objective is to get them to a paid job or an internship.
In this programme Fortuna Verbindt invites 97 elementary schools to its stadium, divided over the whole season. The students are welcomed in the stadium with a stadium tour and a brief interview with 1 or 2 first-team players. After this, they split the group and go deeper into the next two subjects: Healthy lifestyle and responsible gaming. Fortuna Sittard wants to encourage people (and especially children) to do more sport and exercise. They pay attention to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle in general.
Hubert Rovers, CEO of EFDN: “It’s a great pleasure to welcome a new Eredivisie club to our network. Fortuna Sittard is the 19th club from the Netherlands that joins EFDN which shows the commitment of Dutch clubs to contribute to their communities. As EFDN we are happy to deliver this platform where clubs share and exchange their knowledge.”