The most important event event off the pitch for FC Barcelona was held on Wednesday in Tokyo with the 2015 Club World Cup as a backdrop. Josep Maria Bartomeu and Bill Gates, representing the FC Barcelona Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation respectively, met at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo to discuss the joint work being pursued by their foundations.
Accompanying Mr. Bartomeu on behalf of FC Barcelona was the first Vice President Jordi Cardoner and first team players Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal. For the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Gates was accompanied by Joe Cerell, the foundation’s Managing Director for Global Policy and Advocacy.
Recognition of Barça’s social work
The meeting was the first time Mr. Bartomeu and Mr. Gates had met in person. The meeting served to, among other things, review progress on the latest project driven by the two organizations, the 'Let's Beat Extreme Poverty' campaign, aimed at raising awareness of extreme poverty and the role that each of us can play to eradicate it. Mr. Gates believes that FC Barcelona has a significant role to play in these efforts given the unparalleled global reach of the club and the dedication of its fans to issues of social justice.
Mr. Bartomeu and Mr. Gates also agreed on the importance of the new Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations this past September. At the same time, Mr. Gates congratulated Bartomeu for the his deep commitment to issues of corporate social responsibility promoted through the club and FC Barcelona’s Foundation, which gives added meaning and an international dimension to the Club’s motto 'More than a Club.’ Mr. Gates also acknowledged the role played by the first team players in support of such social projects, bringing attention to causes can often be forgotten by the public.
Polio and extreme poverty, two major challenges
The alliance between the FC Barcelona Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation dates back to 2011. Initially the collaboration focused on the fight to eradicate polio through the campaign called 'More than a Goal. End Polio.” Now, in 2015, we have seen the lowest rate ever recorded of children affected by polio in a year, another example that all efforts count in the fight to eradicate this disease, which is still endemic in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Although the last fifteen years have been the most successful in history in the fight against extreme poverty, today there are still 700 million people living in this situation. For this reason, a few weeks ago, both foundations launched the 'Let's Beat Extreme Poverty' project, in collaboration with Global Citizen, in which FC Barcelona players Andrés Iniesta, Adriano Correia, Gerard Piqué, Lionel Messi and Marc-André ter Stegen appear in a video, outlining their commitment to raise awareness as Global Citizens and calling on their fans to do their part in support of this cause.
Global Citizen counts on the support of some of the most prominent global organisations who are committed to help end extreme poverty and believe that every citizen has a role to play in achieving this. More information can be found at GlobalCitizen.org.
Comments from Bill Gates:
“FC Barcelona has been a partner to talk about some of the great causes in the world, ending polio, helping children’s health and because FC Barcelona believes in these causes, they are great partners. The digital platforms that the teams and the players have for us to get good news out and our support for these causes, speak to the values of the team.”
“Our foundation has very ambitious goals about improving health by drawing in the fans. I think we can accelerate our progress to reducing these great inequities, children who don’t grow up to have things that we take for granted.”
Comments from Josep Maria Bartomeu:
“As a Club, it is an honour to have an agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is an organisation that is carrying out many projects around the world to help those who need it most and to be associated with them is a source of great pride and satisfaction. The Gates Foundation also shares the same values as our Club.
“Barça as a global brand is all over the world and is a club that is loved. This also helps to spread the projects in which we are working because the most important thing is that it reaches people. In fact Barça is the Club with most followers on social networks. We started with the project to eradicate polio, a very ambitious project about which we have to be very happy because the number of people affected by the disease is coming down. We are also involved in the campaign to help ease extreme poverty. It has to be a constant effort.”
Acte FCB Fundació Bill Gates (ENG) by fcbarcelona