Speaker update for the 16th EFDN Conference in Breda

21 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 of the knowledgeable and competent speakers in the fields of Fan Facilitation and Participation, STEM & Football, Integrity in Football and the shortlisted project ‘Improve Yourself’ we have contacted to share their expertise with you:

Michael Thomsen – FC St. Pauli

Michael Thomsen, the Head of CSR at FC St. Pauli, will be presenting on fan faciltation and participation as core elements of CSR activities at our 16th EFDN Conference in Breda on 9 & 10 November 2021. 

Since 2018, Michael Thomsen has been the Head of CSR at FC St. Pauli. From the end of the eighties, he has been a fan of FCSP. He started his career as a fan representative of FCSP from 1998 up until 2001 and he studied social work in Hamburg, Germany. Michael has worked in several NGOs, Corporates and for the City of Hamburg.

Michael will be presenting on the topic of fan facilitation and participation as core elements of CSR activities. The image and reputation of the FC St. Pauli is based on the engagement of the fans of the club. The club is thankful for all activities that give an understanding of how football is more than just a game. Football and all stakeholders can create social change. So, the involvement of the fans is one of the main components for the FCSP to become a Corporate Citizen, of which will be of discussion throughout Michael’s presentation.

Matt Mead – Sphero Sports

Matt Mead, Sports Partnerships Manager at Sphero Sports, will be hosting the EFDN STEM & Football Workshop at the 16th EFDN Conference. 

Matt Mead joined Sphero in early 2020 after 14 years working in professional football and social impact. He now leads an exciting new venture, Sphero Sports,  which is a bespoke program built to inspire and educate sports foundations, community organizations and students via sport and STEAM via hands-on, meaningful learning experiences.  Prior to Sphero, Matt was an exec leader at Chelsea FC Foundation, where he used sport as a powerful platform to educate and inspire schools and communities, fostering learning and creating a passion for STEAM Education, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise and Business, as well as Sports Development via the power of football.

Matt will be hosting the EFDN STEM Football and Education Programme workshop.  which is a pan-European project selected for financial support from UEFA Foundation for Children aiming to promote STEM Education amongst European youth. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – is the field that helps children learn how to program, make codes, and understand technological devices.

Anders Wikström – Swedish Professional Football Leagues

Anders Wikström, Integrity Officer at Swedish Professional Football Leagues (Föreningen Svensk Elitfotboll), will be addressing integrity and player sustainability on 9 November in Breda. 

Anders is a former professional football player with 12 years in the Swedish top tier, now working with the integrity issues that unfortunately is a part of football. With personal experience of being contacted about matchfixing, he now works to keep players and clubs as safe as possible.

In his presentation, Anders will address the issue how we can keep our beloved sport as safe from criminal involvement as possible, in the best possible way? Which responsibility/ability do we have to keep our players safe, happy and thriving? How do we work? In his presentation, he will talk about a wider perspective on integrity, where areas like mental health, betting problems and social media all are included in our strategy. Within SEF, they have internally renamed their work to Player sustainability, a wider perspective of integrity.

Anna Pencheva – PFC Ludogorets 1945

Anna Pencheva, Marketing Director at PFC Ludogorets 1945, will be presenting their shortlisted project “Improve Yourself” at our 16th EFDN Conference in Breda on 9 & 10 November 2021. 

Anna Pencheva is a marketing expert with many years of experience in various business organizations in Bulgaria and abroad. In her professional career, she has imposed different brands, but she has always worked towards their social commitment and responsibility. In Ludogorets, for five years now, her team and her have been working daily on various CSR projects, with which they have managed to make the club an important factor in the community and to add value to football as a social phenomenon.

Anna will be presenting on the topic of the shortlisted “Improve Yourself” project which is shortlisted for the 2021 #Morethanfootball Award. As a project based on personal development, ‘Improve Yourself’ seeks to help people better themselves using the positive impact of football and sport in general. The project is a follow-up of the #LiveFriendship project that was started two years ago to help youngsters develop better communication skills. Although that project was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new spin-off emerged with similar objectives. It caters to all age groups and mainly focuses on social development, personality development, community initiatives, healthy lifestyle and fostering inclusive environments – all achieved through various roadmaps. This project covers not only the young generation but also adults, who can set a good example, show their knowledge, skills and help the development of children, as well as give them guidelines.


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

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