Speaker update for the 16th EFDN Conference in Breda

23 October 2021

Speaker update for the 16th EFDN Conference in Breda

The European Football for Development Network (EFDN) will host its 16th EFDN ‘Purpose and Sustainability’ Conference as a hybrid event from 8-10 November 2021 in the Rat Verlegh Stadium of NAC Breda, the Netherlands. So far, more than 150 representatives from 50 different football clubs, leagues, and national football associations of 17 European countries subscribed for the congress.

This conference is the perfect platform for organisations of all shapes and sizes to share ideas and develop new concepts. EFDN is excited to meet its members and partners again in person at the largest gathering of Community and Social Responsibility (CSR) experts in European professional football. Participants at the 16th EFDN Conference will discuss challenges occasioned by COVID-19 and share best practices on CSR strategies, fundraising, sustainability, women’s football, anti-discrimination, social inclusion, online safeguarding, physical activity and STEM education. It will be an excellent occasion for your organisation to join these experts and broaden your network on CSR in football.

This news article will give you an impression of some more of the knowledgeable and competent speakers in the fields of EFDN Playgrounds, the ‘Big Hearts Supporters Movement’, Colour Blindness in Sport, and the UnitedAsOne programme we have contacted to share their expertise with you:

Eduardo Zamarripa – Musco Lighting

Eduardo Zamarripa, Soccer Market Manager at Musco Lighting, and sponsor of the 2021 #Morethanfootball Award, is the next confirmed speaker at our 16th EFDN Conference in Breda on 9 & 10 November 2021. 

Eduardo Zamarripa is the Soccer Market Manager at Musco Lighting. Along with helping expand Musco’s global presence as a leader in soccer stadium lighting, Zamarripa oversees the Mini-Pitch System™ initiative. Through this work, the Mini-Pitch Initiative has helped revitalise space and create playing opportunities in communities all over the United States. Zamarripa has been with Musco for more than eight years in various roles ranging from public relations and marketing analytics to partnership, market and product development. Zamarripa, who’s originally from Monterrey, Mexico, holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Iowa, and Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and English from Drake University.

The presentation as part of the breakout session on EFDN Playgrounds will focus on discussing the partnerships, relationships and connections they have been able to build through the Mini-Pitch initiative. The speakers will explain the details and characteristics of the Mini-Pitch System. They will also show examples of meaningful long-term partnerships that they have developed over the past 3 years. Lastly, they will explain how they have been able to work with different clubs around the world to establish a connection between club and community.

Craig Wilson – Big Hearts Community Trust

Craig Wilson, General Manager at Big Hearts Community Trust (Heart of Midlothian FC), is the next confirmed speaker at our 16th EFDN Conference in Breda on 9 & 10 November 2021. 

Craig Wilson is the General Manager at Big Hearts, the official charity of Heart of Midlothian FC in Edinburgh. Craig initially got involved as a volunteer before joining the staff team in order to build new relationships with fans of the Club. Since 2018 Craig has played a pivotal role in establishing Big Hearts as a trusted charity working closely with local partners and football fans to create positive social outcomes. Under his leadership, the organisation has launched an ambitious three-year strategy focusing on social connections, positive mental health and equal opportunities.

Craig Wilson will be presenting on the topic of the shortlisted “Big Hearts Supporters Movement” project which is shortlisted for the 2021 #Morethanfootball Award. The Big Hearts Supporters’ movement enables any Hearts’ fans to support vulnerable people in their community through the Club charity. This initiative is breaking new grounds in Scottish football with fans completing thousands of volunteering hours every year to make a difference on behalf of their favourite club. In one of the most deprived areas of Edinburgh, the project is helping supporters in their own journey towards employment, new friendships or mental wellbeing. Big Hearts Supporters played a vital role in our capacity to navigate throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with new innovative ways to provide emergency support to groups most vulnerable.

Kathryn Albany-Ward – Colour Blind Awareness

Kathryn Albany-Ward, Founder and CEO at Colour Blind Awareness, EFDN’s TACBIS partner, is the next confirmed speaker at our 16th EFDN Conference in Breda on 9 & 10 November 2021. 

Kathryn Albany-Ward founded Colour Blind Awareness in 2009 following a shock discovery that her son was colour blind because he was unable to tell which players were in his football team at school. After he was unable to follow a Champions League game on TV as a teenager, Kathryn was introduced to UEFA and since 2015 has been their advisor on colour blindness. She also advises the English FA, the Premier League and other football industry stakeholders on the impact of colour blindness. Kathryn was instrumental in creating the first Guidance Notes on Colour Blindness in Football, the Annex on colour blindness in the latest edition of the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s ‘Green Guide’ and World Rugby’s recently published guidance on colour blindness in rugby.

This session on the impact of colour blindness on sport will provide an introduction to colour blindness and why it is important for all stakeholders in football to be aware of the impact it can have on every aspect of the game. Colour blindness is a very common, inherited condition which affects the ability 8% of men to tell many different colour combinations apart. The presentation will consider problems for players and fans, such as distinguishing between kits or seeing equipment, for example the ball or training cones against the pitch. The commercial implications for ticketing, merchandising and sponsorship and the safety and security risks for venue operators will also be considered. The conclusion will offer some practical solutions.

Steve Mack – Newcastle United Foundation

Steve Mack, Operations Manager at Newcastle United Foundation, is the next confirmed speaker at our 16th EFDN Conference in Breda on 9 & 10 November 2021. 

Steve Mack worked at the Newcastle United Foundation for over 11 years and has a passion and commitment to deliver safe and quality programmes to enhance the lives of the people in their community using the Newcastle United brand to engage, inspire and motivate. In his current role as Operations Manager he takes the strategic lead on Safeguarding and Welfare, Health and Safety, ED&I and Quality Assurance as well as implement their commitment to deliver a staff training CPD programmes.

United As One encapsulates the club’s work in the fields of diversity, inclusion and welfare. It encompasses the wide range of activities the Club and Foundation undertake to help keep people safe and end discrimination and inequality in both football and society The work under the UnitedAsOne brand includes work with players, participants, parent and supporters with key initiatives such as Be A Game Changer and the Memory Cafe


Get your ticket for the 16th EFDN Conference in Breda here. 

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