Barça Foundation and UNICEF create a work group of international experts to debate Sport for Development


In the first working session, organised at the Camp Nou, over 40 academics, managers, and representatives from leading institutions in the sector attended

Barça Foundation and UNICEF gathered over 40 international experts in sport, development, and childhood for the first group session at the Camp Nou to analyse, debate, and explore how sport can have a positive impact on the life of children. The investigation of good practices, innovation, and the exchange of knowledge will help empower and protect the most vulnerable children.


The working group, organised by Barça Foundation and UNICEF, is formed by people from diverse disciplines and organisations and they will gather annually until 2020. The objective is to create a world-leading conceptual framework for Sport for Development, considered by the United Nations as a tool capable of transforming societies and our environments. Sport provides a symbol of hope and it can strengthen relationships between individuals from different origins, races, and cultures.


The ex-FC Barcelona first team player, Lilian Thuram, discussed the power of teamwork and he shared his personal vision for sport to “break down barriers and remove prejudices created by society or by ourselves.”


“With initiatives like this, the Barça Foundation wants to call for change and we do so accompanied by the best experts on the subject matter. Sport is a fantastic tool to promote social inclusion, prevent violence, and learn values”, explained Maria Vallès, Director General of the Barça Foundation.

According to the coordinator of the UNICEF Catalunya Committee, Quima Oliver: “Sport is a key tool in the defence and promotion of the rights of children. This initiative allows us to promote the creation of an inclusive world which protects and educates vulnerable children.”










UNICEF and the Barça Foundation have worked together from 2006 onwards to support the rights of children through a pioneering alliance that has benefited over one million children in vulnerable situations. Now, both organisations are entering a new period in which they are working to make sport one of the main tools for change. 



Participants in the working group: Mària Vallès, Director General of the Barça Foundation; Aisha Al-Said, Responsible for Alliances and Collaborations at the Barça Foundation; Allan Williams, Director of Sport for Social Change Network Southern Africa; Anders Levinsen, Founder and CEO of Cross Cultures Project Association; Annabelle McDougall, Manager of Global Alliances for UNICEF, Geneva; Anne Tiivas, President and Director of Safe Sport International; Ariadna Garcia, Coordinator of Projects in the Middle East and Asia for the Barça Foundation; Beatriz Edo, Coordinator for Methodology in Catalunya for the Barça Foundation; Bruno Bigas, Member of the Department for Alliances and Collaborations of the Barça Foundation Chris Mastaglio, Director General of Childfund Australia; Elias Ayoub, National Director of Right to Play; Emmanuel Bayle, Professor of Sport Management at the Institute for Sports Science at the University of Lausanne; Fred Coalter, Professor of Sports Politics at the University of Brussels and the Leeds Beckett University; Hubert Rovers, Founder and Director of National Projects for the European Football for Development Network and Dutch “More than Football” Foundation; Iain Linsdey, Associate Professor in Politics and Sports Development at University of Durkham; Julia Lambrecht, Director of Projects at Football Club Social Alliance; Juliana Zapata, Consultant for Educational Investigation at UNICEF; Jürgen Griesbeck, Founder and CEO at The Third Half; Karlijn Limaheulw, Professor and Footballer at Movement on the Ground; Kathleen Brenninkmeijer, Director of Programmes at Women Win; Laia Martín, Coordinator for Methodology for different FutbolNet projects at the the Barça Foundation; Lilian Thuram, Founder of the Lilian Thuram’s Foundation; Limor Levi, Subdirector of Mifalot Education and Society Enterprises; Liz Twyford, Specialist in Sports Programmes at UNICEF UK; Lluís Ruiz-Giménez, Coordinator of the Barça Foundation projects; Malika Kons, Sociologist and Cultural Anthropologist at the Swiss Academy for Development; Mariona Miret, responsible for the programmes at the Barça Foundation; Mark Mungal, Director and Co-Founder of Caribbean Sport and Development Agency; Matthew Ruuska, Director of Projects at PLAY International; Melissa Palombi, Specialist in sports development at Pacific; Montserrat Conesa, Director of Communications and International Relations at the Association against Anorexia, Bulimia, and the Foundation for Image and Self Esteem; Morten Schmidt, Director of Programmes and Scholarships at Laureus Sport for Good Foundation; Nicolas Rubio, Coordinator of International Projects at the Barça Foundation; Philipp Müller-Wirth, Executive Director for Sport at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Quima Oliver, Coordinator for the UNICEF Catalunya Committee; Ramon Garriga, Coordinator for European Projects at the Barça Foundation; Rayana de Melo Santuchi, Coordinator for methodology for FutbolNet in Brazil; Richard Giulianotti, Professor of Sociology at the University Loughborough; Rocio Vicente, Programme Official from UNICEF’s Spanish Committee; William Smith, Cofounder and Execitive Director of the Monrovia Football Academy, Yolanda Antín, Coordinator of Alliances and Collaborations at the Barça Foundation; Zarmina Nasir, Director of International Programmes and Online Education at Reach Out to Asia, Education Above All.