The African continent must and surely will emerge as the winner of the upcoming WFS Africa, the first-ever African edition of what is the biggest event in the global football industry. That’s the bottom line of the message that Jan Alessie, Director of WFS, delivered during a networking breakfast held at The Terrace 140 West, Sandton, Johannesburg.
The initiative, officially launched at Durban’s iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday, will bring together leaders of the sport from across the globe, Presidents and CEOs of clubs, leagues, federations, broadcasters and other stakeholders under one roof from 17-18 March. It will not only turn South Africa’s sporting Mecca into a global football capital, but will change the face of African football on the playing field and business side of the sport.
“We are confident that our platform will play a key role in boosting the continent’s extraordinary potential. The most important leaders across the globe will have the chance to witness to what extent Africa, despite its challenges, is a land of opportunities”, said Alessie, who encouraged the different players of the South African football landscape to become a part of the event in order to “show the world the uniqueness of Africa and the Ubuntu spirit of South Africa.”
“WFS Africa will become the catalyst and driver of future projects. It is proven that WFS events bring business and development to the communities,” stressed Marcos Pelegrin, Managing Director of LaLiga for South Africa. Spain’s football league is a long-time Global Partner to WFS.
The summit, which is “here to stay”, according to Alessie, is expected to gather over 1,000 delegates at the Durban ICC and will see around 80 global and regional leaders robustly debate issues around turning football into a serious business venture and creating a sustainable legacy for the continent.
The speaker lineup features key decision-makers such as FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, LaLiga President Javier Tebas, Argentina legend Juan Sebastián Verón, who currently serves as Chairman of his home-club Estudiantes La Plata, SAFA President Danny Jordaan, Isha Johansen, President of the Sierra Leone Football Federation, or Morné du Plessis, Chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa.
Facebook, YouTube, DAZN, World League Forums, Olympique de Marseille or Sevilla FC are among the global brands, organizations and clubs that will also take part in this event that has the province of KwaZulu-Natal as Main Partner.
Speakers will come together around common challenges such as the need to create sustainable value for sponsoring brands, how to face digital transformation, evolving competition formats or developing youth talent, among others. With FIFA having undertaken to plough millions into African football, WFS Africa will also discuss ways to maximise the financial grants to help grow the game in Africa.
Ultimately, all discussions will be focused on how football can remain, not only the number one sport on the continent but the biggest generator of income within their space and how this can act as a catalyst to drive social development, with non-profits like Common Goal, WhizzKids United or Malaika sharing experiences on how football can help change lives.