Manchester United and Spain midfielder Juan Mata has pledged to donate 1 percent of his salary to charity – and urged his peers to do the same.
Writing on The Players’ Tribune blog, Mata explained how a recent trip to India inspired him to give something back to society, having found it “very hard to comprehend” and his spirits “a bit down” from the poverty he witnessed.
“I thought about everything football had given me. And I thought about what I wanted my legacy to be,” he told the Players Tribune.
“I knew how lucky I was to have the opportunities I’d had — and that not everyone has a family like mine.
“And even though I’ve been engaged with charities before, I knew that I wanted to do something more. I want to make sure that other kids get the chances I had.
“So starting today, I am pledging 1% of my salary to Common Goal, a collective fund — run by the award-winning NGO streetfootballworld — that supports football charities around the globe.
“It’s a small gesture that if shared can change the world. I’m asking my fellow professionals to join me in forming a Common Goal Starting XI.
“Together we can create a movement based on shared values that can become integral to the whole football industry — forever.
“I am leading this effort, but I don’t want to be alone. One of the first lessons I learned in football is that it takes a team to accomplish your dreams.
“We live by this mantra on the pitch, yet we don’t see it enough in the social space. Common Goal is creating a collaborative way for football to give back to society.
“It’s the most effective and sustainable way that football can deliver long-term social impact on a global scale. Football has the power to do this, but we need to act together.
“I want to make sure that other kids get the chances I had. The focus now is on contributions from players, but the the long-term goal is to unlock 1% of the entire football industry’s revenues for grassroots football charities that strengthen their communities through sport.
“Just last month, I traveled to Mumbai, India, to see one such charity. We went to a slum just outside the main city, and at first it was very hard to comprehend the level of poverty.
“No child should have to live like that. Seeing the conditions, my spirits were a bit down.
“But then we started interacting with the local kids. Their English wasn’t great, and I’m not sure all of them even knew that I was a football player, but we communicated through laughter and the game. If I smiled, they smiled. If I ran, they ran.
“They knew we were there to help, and there was this tangible energy in the air. And, I think, in the same way that I gave my grandfather life — these children were giving me life.
“So now I would like to call upon my fellow footballers to help. We have so many opportunities simply because we play a children’s game.
“We are so lucky to live a dream. Let’s come together and help kids everywhere experience that same light and joy.
“By doing so we can show the wider football industry that Common Goal needs to happen and that it will happen, because it’s right.”