The current stream of people coming to Europe in hope for a better life without repression or war, is a reminder that our continent is often too self absorbed.
Football as an incredibly important part of society and especially professional football with its multi billion profits could and should set an example. Each year the top leagues across Europe give way to amateur football for one day. All media focus is diverted to lower leagues. It is hoped that this way amateur football will receive vital attention and revenue.
If every professional football player paid a week’s wages a lot could be done for refugees. Moreover, clubs should open their purses, too and also invite people to attend matches for free. Of course, this way the causes for most refugees to leave their home and families won’t be solved. That requires a far bigger global effort but it is doubtful that this will ever happen. It is the gesture that will make people realize that no one is excluded or left out.
People of public interest such as actors, musicians but also athletes have a responsibility that goes beyond acting, singing and playing etc. In times when the whole western political elite appear to be thoroughly disconnected from their respective electorate, sports people have a far bigger influence than they could think of.
Raising money is one thing. Raising awareness quite another. Showing up at a refugee camp would send a strong signal.
To paraphrase Neil Armstrong: it requires a small step by football clubs but it would be a giant leap in the right direction if football – players, coaches, managers, agents, physios and all others involved, that means the media, too – would reach out and lend a helping hand. Of course, this is not limited to football. This current crisis concerns us all and we all should act.