Sir Bobby Charlton – Still Scoring for Charity
England legend launches Spirit of Soccer programme for 3,000 Columbian children
Sir Bobby Charlton, regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time after becoming England’s record scorer in 1968 and netting his 49th goal in the 1970 World Cup, has now handed over the baton to Wayne Rooney. However, at almost 78 years old, Sir Bobby’s passion for football remains as fervent as ever. This week, at Soccerex, he announced a Spirit of Soccer programme in Columbia which will benefit 3,000 at-risk youngsters in a country where a shocking one-third of landmine victims are children.
With its roots firmly in football, Sir Bobby founded Find A Better Way in 2011 through his extensive work as a global Laureus World Sport Ambassador. Having witnessed the social plight of people killed and injured through the devastating effects of landmines, he set himself the goal of saving the lives of at risk young people using cutting edge technology. The charity was launched to fund projects in three key areas: research, education and humanitarian, and has supported Spirit of Soccer programmes since January 2014.
“Find a Better Way is harnessing the global language of soccer to educate about the dangers of landmines. My passion for football is still as strong today as it was when I was scoring goals for England and I’m delighted to be able to use it as a way of reaching new humanitarian goals through the innovative work of Find A Better Way,”commented Sir Bobby Charlton, Founder, Find A Better Way.
Over 7 million people have been killed or injured by Colombia’s long-running civil conflict, most of them civilians, and one-third of landmine victims are children. 31 out of 32 Departments in the country are classified as mine-contaminated, with mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) present near schools, pathways and water source.
Since 1996, Spirit of Soccer’s multi-award-winning Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme has used football to educate 350,000 children worldwide about the dangers of landmines and weapons of war. This new project will see 30 coaches bring MRE to 3,000 children directly through soccer programmes and drills, delivering internationally approved safety messages in a fun, inclusive environment.