The list of football enthusiasts attending the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 has been upgraded with a few very special names.
Through its Legends Programme, FIFA has invited an array football stars to watch as Chile takes on Germany on Sunday 2 July. Two of the greatest players in the history of the game, Diego Maradona and Ronaldo, will be joined at the Saint Petersburg Stadium by several former world-class internationals, including Hulk, Julio Baptista (Brazil), Marcel Desailly (France), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Ivan Zamorano (Chile) and Aleksandr Kerzhakov (Russia).
“From the beginning, this administration has pledged to ‘bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football’, and this was not just wordplay. I believe it is FIFA’s duty to ensure that former footballers are a key part of the game to which they devoted their lives,” said FIFA Deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban.
“This does not mean simply inviting them to watch matches from the tribune, but involving them in different areas within FIFA’s scope: development, social activities, promotion of the game. The idea is to promote a closer exchange not only with fans, but with those who administer the game off the pitch. This is the cornerstone of the FIFA Legends Programme.”
For just over one year now, the FIFA Legends Programme has been the platform to reconnect the world governing body of football with the game’s central figures. Over 100 former players and head coaches - men and women, from around the whole globe - have taken part in several FIFA tournaments and also in corporate events such as the FIFA Executive Football Summits, The Best FIFA Football Awards and the FIFA Congress.
This year, at the 67th FIFA Congress in Bahrain, a group of more than 20 players engaged in the second FIFA Legends Think Tank - following a successful inaugural experience in Mexico in 2016. In the Think Tank, former players openly discuss the future of the game with the FIFA President and the institution’s senior management.
“So far the programme has been achieving exactly what we wanted," said Boban. "From the first FIFA Legends’ match played at the FIFA Headquarters the day President Infantino took office to their presence in Russia for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the events around it, former players from all continents have been showing an overwhelming interest in taking part in football activities and giving something back to the game."
Whenever FIFA Legends are invited to an event, they are treated as guests, that is, with their travel and accommodation expenses covered by the organisation and included in the respective events’ overall budgets. In case of campaigns and promotional activities connected with FIFA tournaments, the FIFA Legends receive a daily allowance for their work. This amount is deducted from the dedicated budget of FIFA’s Player & Promotion Events department. If an appearance is of commercial nature – for example, an activation by FIFA’s Commercial Affiliates and broadcast partners - remuneration to the FIFA Legends is negotiated on a case-by-case basis, in line with current market values.