On 4 August 2017, The Players Tribune published a post by Juan Mata. In this post Mata talked of his love of football and the joy it had brought not only himself but family, friends players and fans all over the world.
Mata considers himself lucky to have been given the opportunities he has had which have brought about his professional football career. He wanted to make sure that other kids would also be able to have the same kind of opportunities.
From this desire to help came the decision and pledge that he would donate 1% of his salary to a collective fund called Common Goal. Mata called on his fellow professionals to join him in his quest to support grassroot football charities that strengthen their communities through sport.
At time of writing in mid November, over three months later, there are 22 names on the Common Goal website. In the European Professional Football League there are 907 professional clubs. Over 15,000 professional footballers in the European Leagues alone. That is 0.1% of professional players in Europe alone have pledged to help this cause.
What does this say about the rest of the professional footballers in Europe who are paid handsomely for playing? Then there are sponsorship deals, image rights etc. When football players have done so well that they are making in a day what many of their supporters would make in a year, why no giving back?
Yes many of them give to charity and even set up their own trusts, we know this and it is appreciated. However, when it comes to a way to give kids a chance to enjoy the same opportunities, you would think it would be better supported, especially coming from one of their own.
I look forward to following this story and celebrating any more professionals who make the pledge. Had it been in place when I was writing Dangerous Score, you can be sure the whole team would have pledged immediately.