Helping struggling ex-pros

The Italian Football Association (FIGC) and the non-profit organisation Special Team Legends (STL) have launched a new social responsibility initiative to raise money to build a residential complex where former players who have fallen on hard times can receive support.

©FIGC

The Italian Football Association (FIGC) and the non-profit organisation Special Team Legends (STL) have launched a new social responsibility initiative to raise money to build a residential complex where former players who have fallen on hard times can receive support. Among the Azzurri greats present at the launch in Milan were World Cup winners Andrea Pirlo, Gianluca Zambrotta, Giuseppe Bergomi and Marco Tardelli.

“With Club Italia now incorporating a legends’ section, we have embraced the work of Paolo Maldini and Beppe Dossena’s STL foundation by supporting fundraising initiatives by corporate partners,” explained the FIGC president, Gabriele Gravina.

“When you play football, you’re in the spotlight,” added Maldini. “But when the lights go out and the money dries up, many of us don’t get the help we need because we’re ashamed to ask for it. I am certain that, with the help of the FIGC, we will be able to combat many difficult situations by offering free health and social care.”

Club Italia’s new activities were outlined by the FIGC chief executive, Marco Brunelli: “The recent overhaul of this section of the FIGC, which was set up to support the development of Italy’s national teams, has been enhanced by the involvement of former internationals who will be represented on the new Club Italia board and provide valuable experience and decision-making support. Led by Antonio Cabrini, the legends’ section will also organise school visits and exhibition matches against teams from other associations.”

As mentioned earlier, the FIGC’s partnership with STL will focus on supporting ex-players who are experiencing particular hardship.

“It’s not a case of giving them money,” explained Dossena. “Rather, we aim to provide health and social care so that former players of both genders can have a bit of dignity in their retirement and twilight years. Typically, their problems stem from failed marriages, bad investments, not being able to cope when they hang up their boots, and depression, which can often lead to harmful forms of addiction. These are people aged between 40 and 60 who might not have earned that much during their careers. Some of them can’t even afford to buy groceries. We hope to share some of the proceeds with other sports too, and I am grateful to the president of the Italian Golf Federation, Franco Chimenti, for his help in this regard.”

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct 185

 

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