The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development describes sport as an important enabler of sustainable development. It recognizes the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.
Limited comparable data exists on the impact of sport in social and economic settings, but the many existing positive anecdotes are driving continued research on the leveraging the role of sport for development gains. Each year, on 6 April, the world commemorates the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). On this day, citizens of the world are encouraged to learn, innovate and promote the ways that sport can help countries, communities and individuals to live, peaceful, prosperous lives.
By the kind courtesy of the Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Alicia Rico Pérez del Pulgar, I had the opportunity to interact with Guillermo Perez Castello, from the LaLiga Global Network. Currently based in Nigeria, Perez Castello is the designated Delegate of the LaLiga responsible for Nigeria and Ghana. He was in the country strengthen ties with football and other relevant institutions in the country as well as explore opportunities for commercial partnerships with key stakeholders and government.
As part of its then internationalization drive, LaLiga in November 2016 launched a new project in collaboration with Santander bank and Universia. LaLiga Global Network, is an exciting project underlining LaLiga's firm commitment to youth development and aims at giving young people from all over Spain as well as other parts of the world the chance to work for the best league in the world.
Outlining similarities between the two countries, Perez Castello said “there is a great passion for football in this country and it is evident within the two days I have been here. Ghana is an interesting country not only because of the passion but the abundance in talent. As you know, there are some great Ghanaian players playing in Spain at the moment and others who have played in Spain in the past. When you take a look at the Spanish teams, there is a great number of quality local players across all the teams, an indication of our ability to equally create talents”
“Football is a culture and more than a passion and we have some of the best and good clubs with some of the most amazing talents you can find anywhere, the majority being locals. Every team is bringing players from the grassroots, which is very important and also our internalization strategy over the last year years has aided our profiling enormously. Globally, we are making our presence felt and electing delegates to countries who will be in touch with the local leagues, governments and looking out for opportunities for LaLiga, our clubs and vice versa”, his response to what makes LaLiga an attractive league.
A major benefit countries derive from the LaLiga Global Network is human capital development; skill development, knowledge transfer and capacity building. “There are various projects being run and different countries, from soccer academies to LaLiga Business School where a we partner with local universities for sports management programmes. There is also the exchange where practitioners go to Spain during the LiLiga week to be attached to various units and get acquainted to how things are done. This is not restricted to only football, they are given opportunity to visit facilities of others sports to get a general idea of sports management in general”, Perez Castello highlighted.