Wales football chief tells how ‘Together Stronger’ benefits business and sport

Hot on the heels of hosting the Champions League, Football Association of Wales CEO Jonathon Ford kicked off a discussion on how the sectors can work better together at a business breakfast in Cardiff yesterday.

Marking the end of volunteer week, the event brought together senior executives from Wales’ corporate world and sport CEOs to explore the mutual benefits of relationships between sport and business, and saw the launch of a new partnership between the Welsh Sports Association (WSA) and Acorn Recruitment who will be providing an executive search function for the boards of sports governing bodies. The breakfast is part of an ongoing conversation which aims to find practical ways to ensure that we have a sustainable sport sector that is “fit for the future”.

Jonathan Ford, who is also a board member of the WSA, said:

“Welsh sport has seen unprecedented success in recent years, and we want to make sure this momentum continues. Business expertise is critical to making sure that sports in Wales can sustain this success so that they become bigger, better and fit for the future. The great concept of ‘Together Stronger’ works beyond football – it has a relevance for each and every one of us. This event is the start of a continuing conversation with business so that we can build better relationships and deliver greater outcomes.”

Helen Humphrey, Chair of the WSA said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity not only to showcase the unique position of the national governing bodies of sport in Wales, but also to show the tangible benefits to business of working with the sport sector. There are great lessons for businesses from sport. Experience has shown me that the connection between performance and the emotional intelligence that sport requires can certainly help grow a business and develop its employees for very little cost.

“In sport, players and coaches must control their emotions to work together in high pressure situations, especially in team sports. If you think sitting in a board or a team meeting can put your nerves on edge, try taking a penalty or needing one more goal with just seconds left on the clock. Businesses can harness the psychological approaches taken by high pressure sport to give themselves greater competitive advantage.

“Similarly, sport needs to apply a business mindset to its operations, so that it can reach and understand a wider audience. Sport is a language that can overcome many barriers, and together we can make a real impact in helping develop a skilled, resilient and productive workforce.”

Dan Langford, Acorn Group said:

“With such a competitive jobs market, serving on boards provides excellent development opportunities and the sort of skills that employers demand. We have already been inundated with applications for roles, so it shows that there is real appetite among the business community to help make a difference.

This partnership with Acorn’s specialist Executive Search Division is a great coup for the WSA and a fantastic example of how sport and business can work together to achieve mutual goals; it taps into the experience and expertise of Acorn’s specialist team of executive head-hunters and its impressive marketing and candidate attraction machine for the direct benefit of all sports governing bodies across Wales.”

For further information, please contact [email protected] or 07968 016218/ 029 2033 4977

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