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Cristiano Ronaldo, football and sustainable governance

Our contemporary reality has surpassed the classic standards that characterize political, economic and cultural frameworks, as a result of the highly complex nature of global dilemmas, for which solutions can no longer be found through traditional sustainable governance concepts and mechanisms. Therefore, based on this reality, the following problematic can be raised:

Is it possible to create a new cultural pattern at the level of sustainable governance that helps create pressure and influence that is capable of facing contemporary global dilemmas?

It seems clear that global issues in their human, political and economic dimensions need a new cultural pattern, which must be based on the following rules:

  • Changing the way we understand the power and sovereignty of the state.
  • Work to find a tangible political influence.
  • Creating real and direct economic pressure.
  • Finding effective authority for the actors individuals.

This new pattern, which is based on the centrality of the individual,is not just a pressure tool that replaces traditional forms of political expression only. should be also a motivating tool that helps to realize that moral commitment is a very urgent necessity, as the moral image and reputation has become one of the most important fixed assets and the most sensitive of human and social capital. Consequently, this requires the political and economic forces to re-evaluate their policies in line with sustainable, more humane and transparent governance (locally and globally).

To illustrate the extent of the ability of individuals to bring about a kind of change that can be benefited from at the level of sustainable governance, reference can be made to the global influence of the Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo, which is considered a model that confirms the ability of influential individuals to put many forces in a position of accountability and responsibility. There are many examples that confirm this, including:

  1. At the 2020 European Football Championship, Ronaldo, in a press conference, removed the Coca-Cola bottle(the official sponsor of the tournament) in front of him to encourage people to drink water to maintain health. This led to a decrease in the value of the company’s shares and its exposure to losses amounting to about $4 billion.
  2. The shares of Manchester United suffered financial losses as a result of the strongly critical statements of the club’s management by Cristiano Ronaldo (in November 2022), not to mention the shaking of the club’s image and reputation in front of the fans and sponsoring institutions. This led to the club’s owners announcing that the idea of ​​selling the club is now among their priorities.
  3. The value of Manchester United shares on the stock exchange increased by approximately 212 million pounds sterling, as soon as the contract with Cristiano Ronaldo was announced in August 2021.
  4. The island of Madeira, the birthplace of Cristiano Ronaldo, was chosen as the “Best Island in Europe” between 20132021 (excluding 2015), in addition to the “The best island destination for tourism in the world” between 20152021. This is due to the positive impact of the player’s fame Portuguese on tourism. As it turns out that the time period in which Madeira received these awards coincides with a significant increase in the number of followers of CR7 on social media.
  5. The personal accounts of Cristiano Ronaldo are the most influential and followed on social networking sites from the accounts of governments, political leaders, or the accounts of companies and private organizations. For example, by the end of November 2022, the number of Cristiano Ronaldo followers has exceeded half a billion people on the Instagram platform only.

Based on this, and according to a well-defined strategy, countries, the United Nations and all institutions and organizations concerned with sustainable governance can cooperate with Ronaldo (and all other influential individuals), by exploiting their influence and influence on social networks in order to reach more sustainable governance. Including achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include achieving peace and justice, building strong institutions, combating climate change, eliminating poverty, reducing inequalities,..etc.

In this context, it seems that what the forces of corruption and monopoly fear most now is confronting that array of new standards that go beyond the monotony and ineffectiveness of traditional political standards. So, if the political forces are unable (or intentionally helpless) in confronting the influence of those forces, individuals (as consumers, investors, and citizens) can do so in a practical and more positive manner compared to what the political authorities can do or perhaps unwilling to do.

Since social networks have become one of the most important features of the current era in terms of cross-border influence and pressure, this confirms the importance of benefiting from the role of influential individuals at the level of the possibility of achieving sustainable governance at all levels. Where, the influence of these individuals will inevitably be an important part of the global cultural, political and economic landscape in the future.

Consequently, within the framework of the radical shifts taking place at the level of political standards and methods (primarily the dominance of the ideology of media and fame), it is not enough to use traditional sources to obtain influence. There are the soft sources (so to speak); which has a great ability to direct. Here, football is perhaps one of the areas most capable of making an impact on the global level.

In light of the foregoing, and based on the highly complex cultural heritage that football bears in terms of the wide interdependence between football and normative political and cultural issues, not to mention the high frequency of geopolitical challenges between countries. Hence here, perhaps many question marks should be raised about whether there is still what can be called “pure sport” away from any ideological hegemony, including the attempt to promote a cultural and political agenda and even an attempt to impose it on all societies. This is, in fact, what can be easily deduced by tracking all the cultural and political problematic that accompanied Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup in November 2022.

In sum, the geopolitical competition around football will continue to exist for many considerations closely related to the structure of the international system at the present moment, and the attempt of European countries, and the West in general, to prove their position political and cultural, also their economic capabilities. Therefore, in the midst of the demographic, economic and cultural uncertainties that surround many features of global politics, which will certainly not only stop at the political frontiers, but will inevitably reach the world of sports, specifically in football. Here, based on these developments, we must raise the following problematic:

  • What is the possibility of sustainable governance at the global sports level and neutralizing it from political influences?
  • To what extent can influential individuals assume moral responsibility and adopt sustainable governance ideas, instead of merging into a global investment and marketing pattern whose only purpose is to achieve financial profits and spread a culture of objectification and consumption?