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TEDxPatagonia- Harold Mayne-Nicholls

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Let me begin by telling you two very special anecdotes before we start on what most interests me. When I was running for president of the football federation and the national association one of my five children -- I have five sons -- one of them, the third, comes over and says: "Dad, it's fine, run, but don't waste this chance." So, I've felt pressure from way before. (Laughter) And I'll use a Chilean expression, another son was a scout -- he still is -- he went to the jamboree, a jamboree is a global scout meeting, that happened in England in 2007. With Rafa we also were scouts at some point. And when he returned we were nearing a deal with Bielsa. And I go to get him at the airport, he's 14, and instead of thanking me, congratulating me and so forth, the first thing he says when he sees me, he tells me: "How are you gonna pay that guy so much money!" So the pressure, you can imagine, it ain't free... Well, my presentation'll be about why we participate in Chilean football and why we see an ocean of opportunity. First, why we're here, because today football is obviously in every part of the village, the global village that McLuhan spoke of back then, in the sixties. Today football has everybody completely joined. All of us who are in the football world, we're organized under an international federation called FIFA, we're 208 member countries, 250 million players, 40 million women players, 30 billion people all in all watched -- not just one match -- in total watched the last 64 games of the World Cup, supposedly there's going to be more people watching this one. Why do we think so? Because someone came up with the idea that you can watch football in a phone like this one, or you can watch any TV through it. Someone had the idea, 62 million people watched the last world cup on the phone, and we in FIFA, in organized football, are convinced that this number is going to grow who knows how many times. Obviously you watch it while paying a few bucks which are always welcome. What is our general principle, why do we fight for it, why are we engaged in this? First, our general principle is that football in the entertainment industry, in the recreation industry, in the amusement industry in Chile has to be the leader and by far. And how does it have to be lead? With a creative and efficient administration, from where we get the slogan you see in the picture. With football we all win. We inherited a culture of years in football of doing things one way, which I personally never agreed with, although I've been working in this field for 20 years, but we always believed there were other ways of doing this. And we continue to add to this inheritance like a heavy load, papers which did not exist keep on appearing, and things continue to come up, but we still believe that we have such a great commitment to everybody that we must be number one and we must be efficient and we must be creative. Now, we compare ourselves to other markets as you can see here and the truth is that we are absolutely at a disadvantage compared to any other country. In any chart that an economics expert shows you -- I'm a journalist so I don't know much about economics -- but any economist would tell you: "With these charts, you're not even competing." The amount spent per capita in our country in football is $2.2 dollars per year and here you see in other countries, in Scotland it almost reaches $70. And even then, with our limitations, we're able to compete. And we compete with all sorts of countries even though their markets far exceed ours. We are a very small country in the world football industry. Despite great passion, despite all that football means to our people, we are very very small which obviously allows us the ability to grow by leaps and bounds because the others are already reaching their ceilings or they have greater difficulty growing. That is our challenge. Taking those 35 million dollars in 2007 when we showed up in football, reaching countries that are as powerful as us in football; a mix between Turkey and Portugal, that is the level we belong to. Which means, we have a long way to go, we greatly need everybody's help, because the country's football deserves to be in a different place from what it is today. How do we start doing this, how do we think we've got to start working? We have to start first of all, training players. Without football players nothing of this exists; however many beautiful stadiums we have, however many appearances in television shows, however much distribution, however much coverage however much passion the taxi driver that talks to Rafa has, etc., it doesn't exist. First of all we need players. The first thing we did was adapt the categories where children under 18, 19 years play to the international standards. We can't have our own categories, it's absurd, it makes no sense. First we adapted the categories, this is a picture of the O'Higgins team from Rancagua, they just won the Copa Chile U-18 in Los Vilos, this picture is from when they won that. The second, if we want to develop properly, we must invest. We develop players, other people develop teachers, develop engineers. But without investment there never will be high level professionals. We took the budget we had, and doubled it, at great risk. We increased it by 30% the second year and this third year we're in charge of football we're again increasing it by 15%. Why did we do that? Because we are commited to making sure that all children have the same opportunities. I, like Rafa, come from Antofagasta, and an Antofagastan kid has to have exactly the same possibilities that a kid from Santa Rosa has to develop their talent, at least for football. I don't care about other stuff but it is our responsibility that regarding football that kid develops like any other, irrespective of where he lives, the teams from Santiago shouldn't be able to play among themselves, train players and leave the rest alone. It's what we need to do for our country. And the other thing we did, we made clubs train more kids. The clubs -- some of them -- didn't understand the idea. They had one category, maybe two. Today, everyone is required to have 4 series playing among themselves every week. That is, the number of games that Arica plays is the same number that Colo Colo plays, which is the same number that Puerto Montt plays. That little boy born in Putre or in Quellón must have the same opportunity than the one that lives next to the San Carlos de Apoquindo Stadium. There is absolutely no difference except for talent development. Talent, then we start seeing the talent and intelligence that are key in football. You start seeing who will go further and who takes this as a life learning experience. And the last thing we did was a national-level integration. Not only for the junior players, we did it all across the country. So much so that last year we restarted the Copa Chile tournament, we started playing in Punta Arenas. We were told for years that you couldn't play in Punta Arenas, you couldn't play because of the cold, specially if it snows and even less if temperatures are freezing. We were so lucky that we went to play the start of the Copa Chile; it was snowing, -8 degrees celsius and it was an extraordinary game with a packed stadium. 5,000 people under those conditions and a wind that made the ball actually move but which allowed us to clean out the snow; there was so much wind that all the snow was blowing to the edges. So ... But it was a great show. And because all of that went well, and as we have slightly revolutionary ideas, next Wednesday we will be playing on Easter Island with the Easter Island team playing against Colo Colo for the new season's start of the Copa Chile. Why do we do it? Because, me personally, and all those who join me in this football adventure feel that football belongs to everybody and not just to specific groups and cities. The Easter Island people, through football, will have a national integration which they've already shown: the game in which we beat Bolivia a couple of months ago, for the first time in history, we got that game transmitted live to Easter Island. People came out to celebrate, it was a party for the people of Rapa Nui. And we got it done through a very special combination, because the game was produced and aired by Channel 13, the only signal that reaches the island is the TVN network and we also have our own company which is the Football Channel, of which we own 80%. And we were able to join these 3 together so that the 3,500 islanders could really enjoy it. And we did the same for the people of Antarctica who are working for the benefit of us all. So we've also achieved that integration at a national level. But we've achieved it and have boosted it. I never could understand how in an industry as powerful as football women would be left aside. With a minimum of marketing background, I thought: "If today, we can sell ten pairs of shoes only to men tomorrow with women we can sell 30 because women have more shoes than men." (Laughter) (Applause) So it was something so basic that I couldn't, I could not fathom why. And we dove headlong into women's football. With an impressive result, let's say, I mean, really impressive. Women have given us back our spirit to those of us in the football world and we're extremely grateful for it. I just got a message that our president convinced President Lula, and Lula came out saying that Chile deserves to organize the Copa America in 2015, women continue to do our work for us which I think is very good. Well, what did we achieve? We've given every woman an opportunity, everyone who wants to play football is welcome, the doors are open. Again, the talent will prevail because this ... in the end it is a sport but also there is opportunity for development. We are looking for talent throughout the country; yesterday I was in Temuco, in a semifinal of the public schools, a female U-14 semifinal of the public schools of the Padre Las Casas district. There was a little girl who must have measured 5'11'', goalkeeper, with impressive handling security, and by chance I saw her. Obviously her contact info is already at the office so we can ask her to join us. There's no reason she shouldn't have the opportunity to do well. It'll be up to her on her how she applies the opportunity. We put together a female Premier League. We show it every week on the Football Channel at 1 PM on Saturdays. We give courses and seminars for coaches, for people who want to learn, wherever they ask us to go, we go. We've done a whole lot of technical and promotional projects for women's football. The biggest of all of these was the women's World Cup. We did spectacularly well, or at least I think so -- I insist, as a reporter -- we, the government, the country, invested 110 million dollars in 4 new stadiums that can now be used by the whole country, we as an association lost two million dollars but we think the benefit reaches far beyond the final tally. I know that economists and financiers tell me I'm sick in the head because losses cannot be sustained over time. I say okay, but if they continue building stadiums for me for 25 or 30 million dollars each without us having to pay for them, the return will obviously be elsewhere and we'll have to get more resources through other opportunities football affords us. And we do festivals and social projects with many cities to promote women's football. Now, how do we do this? How do we work? What are we looking for? First of all, the 32 partners who are members of the ANFP -- 18 First division clubs, 14 First B (Second) clubs -- are our primary beneficiary. The clubs are what we work for, they are what we grow the industry for, they are what we get into all these projects for, they are what gets the taxi driver to talk about football. We want them to become stronger through our work. And we've achieved that with very clear objectives, we know exactly where we are going, where we want to get to, what we're seeking; the vast majority of people believe that our goal is to classify to South Africa and then we'll be done and that that was what I went to ask Marcelo Bielsa when I brought him over. But I didn't ask him that, I went to ask him something else. What I wanted from Marcelo Bielsa was that the Chilean team recover the dignity that they never should have lost. And I think we have succeeded. We still have four games, if our players fall asleep we might not qualify but we expect to qualify. But we got back our dignity, and how did we get it back? With the three tools which we asked Marcelo to be sure to give our players: a rigorous work ethic; very rigorous because if our players have the opportunity to waste time they waste time -- same as any of us, nothing special --. A lot of discipline. I, as I told you earlier, have five children, and I have enough problems trying to educate them, so on top of that having to lay down rules of behavior to grown up kids isn't ... unfortunately I have no capacity for that so they've got to have a lot of discipline on and off the field. And third, a lot of humility. Football gives you many possibilities but it also hands you the opportunity of becoming an arrogant person specially if you come from such humble places, as do many of our players, and you become a really resonant idol. And we've achieved that humility, Marcelo has managed to sit Valdivia on the bench and to let him play when he chooses and not when Valdivia wants to go in, even if Vidal pouts because he isn't playing, he's willing to come back, and so on. There's lots of cases. The last case we had, which unfortunately was interpreted wrongly in Chile, was a little boy of 12 who sent a letter to Claudio Bravo, a really poor little boy with parents who work hard, he asked Claudio for a pair of gloves because he is a keeper. Claudio's gloves are given to him by his sponsor, his gloves are worth between 150, 200 dollars, 300 dollars, I don't know their exact value but they are expensive gloves. And Claudio answered and said: "I'll give them to you, no problem, come and get them whenever you want." A boy of 12 years with the hand of Claudio the glove fits him like this, both hands fit in a single glove, but Claudio gave them to him, he came with his dad, they came to Pinto Duran, he gave him the gloves and after all this, the father blurts out, he says "no, Juanito did not go to school today so he could come and get the gloves." And Claudio stopped him right there and said "Now that's really wrong. Had I known that I wouldn't have given him the gloves." How did the media see this? As a joke, they were laughing and whatever. The lesson I'm sure that that kid learnt was worth much more than the pair of gloves he got. And that's what we seek through our players and through having clear objectives. The other thing is that we, maybe because of how I am, we are always optimistic. There's no option to be pessimistic here. We're losing 6-0, well, bad luck, next time we'll turn it around. But we must always be optimistic, football has no room not to be optimistic. We have boundless passion for this, everyone working with us, absolutely everyone, is passionate about football. I do this as a service to the country, I'm not being paid, but the passion is in fact totally rewarding. I mean, the fact that one sees the joy it brings people when the Chilean team wins; it pays off all of what you're not paid in money. And that's nothing more than passion. We support without question the value and rights underlying football. We would not trade this. Football has a value in the society, and whomever wants it has to pay for it. This is not free, it has a value. I do not mean paying money for it, but paying somehow. Football isn't so different from so many other things in society, it has value and we respect that value. And the other thing everyone who works with me does in the association, the federation; we're dedicated to this 24 hours, 365 days a year. There is no room for anything else. Why is there no room? Because as I said we have a commitment that goes far beyond winning or losing on Sunday, far beyond classifying or not to the world cup far beyond if the ball hit the post, bounced in, bounced out. Our duty is to transmit values to society, to convey values that allow us a better country. So which are these values? Solidarity is obvious: you cannot play football if there is one guy lounging and the other 10 are running. The example of Marcelo's work is there, if all 11 run the chances of winning are much higher than if only one or two run. We are an organization where democracy reigns, decisions are taken by everybody, on the field they are taken by every person playing. The manager has to choose who goes in, the only part where there is no democracy, but there is some -- specially in this case --. Marcelo decides who starts according to how well they performed in training. In other words, you've earned your place or you haven't. And that is a value we cannot lose. Equality, for us the clubs, the 32 clubs are equal. Melipilla's equally important to Colo Colo to the U to Católica, they deserve the same treatment, the same respect, the same way of doing things. This is also how we think society as a whole has to work. And we must be absolutely transparent. Football crosses through all of society, we reach from one political edge to the other, we reach from one social edge to the other, we reach from every endpoint to the other ... Everyone is in some way -- those who want to and those who don't -- involved in football. It isn't an activity that goes unnoticed and we need to be transparent. We just delivered a balance, as I said, where we've shown that we have 1,800 million pesos of cumulative loss because we cleaned the yearly reports from the 15 years which'd been somewhat manipulated and that's what they really showed. Okay, that is a reality, that's what people want to know and that is what we work for. And we do all this work because we're sure that having better football we will have a better country, we're all Chileans, both my grandparents come from abroad, stayed here, had no intention of returning to their homes -- even though they had the chance -- and as a Chilean you have to give back what the country has given you. And football is by far -- at least in my view -- where we can give back the most. Thanks for your time. (Applause)

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: Chile
Language: Spanish (Spain)
Genre: None
Views: 91
Posted by: lmaldonado on Dec 23, 2010

Harold Mayne-Nicholls describes in a 2009 TEDxpatagonia event how he recreated Chilean soccer to create a cultural revolution and give the local youth new standards to look up to.

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