The Israeli Professional Football Leagues recently organized the trip of an official delegation of its Heads of Community department for study and enrichment purposes to Manchester in cooperation with the English Football League, its associated clubs and Manchester United Football Club.
The goal of the delegation – which consisted of 20 members, most of them CSR officers who have been leading the educational-value-oriented activities in Israeli premier league Clubs – was to learn about the community activities undertaken by the English Football League and Manchester United Football Club which impact and change for the better the lives of the residents in the community.
During the intensive three-day visit, the Israeli delegation was warmly welcome by the English Football League and reviewed the community-education models and activities of various clubs in the Manchester area including Manchester United Football Club, Wigan Athletic, Preston North End FC and Derby County FC (who won the EFL’s Community Club of the Year Award in 2018) and witnessed first-hand various activities for youth at risk, disabled, elderly and others aimed at uniting people both within the community and outside of it.
Shaun Harvey, CEO of the EFL: “We were delighted to recently welcome the Israeli Professional Football Leagues delegation to the EFL and take them to visit some of our Clubs. In the 10th anniversary year of the EFL Trust, it gave us a fantastic opportunity to tell our community story and share some of the excellent work of our Clubs undertake in towns and cities across England and Wales. It is always important to get a different perspective from people and organisations, in lots of ways some of the challenges faced by the Clubs in Israel are similar to the social issues we face here in the UK – in many other ways they are very different. It was incredibly valuable to learn about the approach Clubs in Israel take for community matters and we are confident that the trip was only the start of a long term mutually beneficial relationship. I’d like to wish the team over in Israel the very best of luck for their ongoing and extremely worthwhile Israeli Hope project.”
Erez Halfon, IPFL Chairman: “Since the establishment of the IPFL, community social responsibility has received the highest priority. This is part of our perception that connection between football and community is a bilateral one – football should support community no less than the community supports football. I would like to express my gratitude to the English Football League and especially to the CEO Mr. Shaun Harvey, to Manchester United Football Club, to Derby County FC, to Preston North End FC to Wigan athletic and to all others who took part in this initiative. The way in which our delegates were accepted, and the time and resources devoted to the delegation by our hosts were no less than amazing and we surely do not take this for granted and will seek ways to keep this cooperation going, in this area and other areas of football, with leagues and organizations around the world.”
Mr. Eran Eytan, head of the delegation and the director of “Israeli hope: Shield of honor” on behalf of the President of the State of Israel added: “This was a memorable experience for all of us and I have no doubt that many of the ideas and initiatives taken by English football clubs will be relevant for our community activities in Israel. Our main goal is to implement the model, methods and activities we saw in the UK and to create effective collaboration between the sectors in the Israeli society. I would like to thank everyone who took part in making this idea come true and especially to Shaun Harvey, Mark Rowan and the English Football League who saved neither time nor efforts in making this journey memorable and meaningful”.
“Israeli Hope – The Shield of Honor” launched in March 2015 under the leadership of the President of the State of Israel and in partnership with the Israeli Professional Football Leagues and other partners aims to establish the values, community and educational activity of the clubs as a standard in Israeli football. In particular, the Shield of Honor identifies the club as a significant educational framework in favor of creating intersectoral cooperation, promoting equal opportunities, narrowing gaps and dealing with phenomena of violence and racism.”