Following a first day full of energy and groundbreaking insights, WFS Europe 2023 continued to meet expectations as it entered Day 2. From a memorable WFS Awards gala to rich conversations and panels, Day 2 gathered some of the most brilliant minds committed to innovating the football landscape.
A Night That Made Football Industry History, Not Just Headlines
The WFS Awards Gala, sponsored by Junta de Andalucía, wasn’t just a handing out of trophies; it was an elevation of spirits. Fatma Samoura of FIFA, the Argentinian Men’s National Football Team, and eleven exceptional organizations didn’t just win awards. They won hearts. They became the north stars of an industry looking skyward for inspiration.
Simply look at Sofie Junge Pedersen’s speech after winning the Marcus Rashford Award, presented by FIFPro:
Game changers like her at what the industry needs to drive push forward
The Second Act: No Sophomore Slump Here
Day 2 not only met expectations but exceeded them. From sustainability to women’s football and sports technology, the panels were like a good suspense novel: You never quite knew what the next page had in store, but you couldn’t wait to turn it.
What’s in a Brand? Everything
In a fascinating “tête-à-tête,” Sir Martin Sorrell and Aleix Gabarre from Summa Branding delved into the psyche of what makes a brand stick. This wasn’t just a normal chat; this was a lesson in alchemy, turning names and logos into legends.
Gen Z generation is really into highlights, into going right to the facts.
That panel also had room to discuss the role of technology in football. As Aleix Gabarre, from Summa Branding, specified:
Blockchain, metaverse, AI, and AGI will have a huge impact on the sports industry entertainment, as they will democratize knowledge.
The Industry Stage: Where Echo Chambers Get Shattered
You had VEO Technologies, Integrated Dreams, Deloitte, and a dozen more. It wasn’t just a stage; it was a painting of the future that each panelist portrayed of where the football industry would, not could, go.
Legends in football also take the stage
When football legend Ivan Rakitic talked, he wasn’t sharing a scripted, PR-approved narrative. He shared what he truly believes is the football he wants, and needs.
The football I want is a great show, great entertainment, the emotional part is important.
Another legend of the game, Sol Campbell, shared his secrets for becoming a Champion:
Becoming a champion is recognizing from very early on what you want or don’t want to be.
The Sisterhood of Football
Marian Otamendi made sure the day echoed with one refrain: More women in leadership. The “Female Leaders” networking cocktail wasn’t just a meeting; it was a movement.
Wrap It Up, But Don’t Shut It Down
The grand finale was a social gathering, energized by live DJ sets from ACX Music. Business cards were exchanged, but more importantly, handshakes were felt, and smiles were shared. Friendship and respect are other values that the football industry needs.
The Journey Continues
As the curtain falls on WFS Europe 2023 in Sevilla, don’t for a moment think this is the end. Mark your calendars for Saudi Arabia this December and Mexico in June 2024. Because revolutions don’t have finish lines, they have milestones…and we need to gather the best the football industry has to offer to achieve them.
As we said yesterday, WFS Europe 2023 was not a summit. It was the kickoff towards a better, brighter future in football. So, until we meet again in Saudi Arabia, keep dreaming big, striving hard, and aiming high. We need a different football, we want a different football.
Join us, let’s build an industry we are proud to champion…together!