At the end of April, Swedish Professional Football Leagues, along with representatives from three Swedish elite clubs, participated in a conference organized by the European Football for Development (EFDN). The conference was held in Warsaw in collaboration with the Polish powerhouse Legia Warsaw and focused on the sustainability efforts of European clubs.

“The days served as a reminder that in Sweden, we are very advanced when it comes to sustainability work. Despite relatively small means, there is tremendous strength in Swedish elite football,” says Beatrice Clarke, sustainability manager at Swedish Professional Football Leagues.

The conference participants included clubs, leagues, and associations from across Europe. In addition to Swedish Professional Football Leagues, Sweden was represented by Malmö FF, IF Elfsborg, and Hammarby. Over the two days, participants had the opportunity to listen to inspirational lectures and examples of various types of sustainability efforts carried out by clubs, leagues, and associations. One of the clubs that shared their work was Malmö FF.

“One of the highlights was Malmö FF’s inspiring presentation about their work with primary school football against racism. Their approach involved interaction where participants tested their knowledge of human rights in general and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in particular, leading to very exciting conversations and exchanges of experiences,” continues Beatrice Clarke.

Another presenter was the Liverpool FC Foundation, which talked about its work to combat unemployment by increasing knowledge, self-confidence, and motivation among young people in Liverpool and New York. Participants also had the opportunity to listen to Jan-Willem van der Roest, who spoke about how the Dutch Eredivisie has worked to enhance professionalism at both league and club levels in terms of strategic sustainability efforts.

Participation in EFDN’s conference in Warsaw was made possible thanks to the collaboration between elite football and Unibet. Unibet funds Swedish Professional Football Leagues and the clubs’ membership in EFDN, which in turn allows them to participate in their sustainability conferences and other meetings and activities.

“We take away a lot from these days, while it’s also very exciting to be able to inspire other countries by sharing all the work being done in Swedish elite football. It’s clear that the issue of sustainability is growing stronger and becoming increasingly important for the continued development of football,” concludes Beatrice Clarke.

The next EFDN conference will take place in November 2024.