The former Real Madrid and Manchester United centre-forward is one of the images linked with a healthy lifestyle campaign being run by the Dutch federation, the KNVB, and which coincides happily with the country’s hosting of the championship.
Corporate social responsibility is an increasingly popular concept in the business community and sports federations should already by halfway there by their very nature.
In the case of the KNVB this has meant identifying the three CSR pillars of fitness, togetherness and green issues. Focusing on fitness, the ‘Speel je fit’ campaign includes initiatives such as an armband with GPS tracker to check daily exercise levels.
The foundation set up by former Dutch international Van Nistelrooy joined this initiative, in partnership with Hartstichting, the Dutch heart association, and the World Heart Federation.
During UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, the ‘Play fitter’ campaign also has European federation UEFA as a partner along with the hosts’ stars such as Shanice van de Sanden and Jackie Groenen.
A recent survey suggested that 80pc of Dutch children do not exercise enough. So the campaign focuses on nine simple exercises, explained by video, that anyone, especially children, can do on their own, for the sake of a longer and healthier life.
As CSR manager Peter Legters said: “Our main target is stimulating a healthy lifestyle among young people together with the values of safety and common respect and personal development.”
Standing behind all of this is the 127-year-old KNVB, one of the first football federations in the world and now with 500 employees and a long history in the ‘beautiful game’ including a host of iconic moments from World Cups, European Championships (men’s winners in 1988), European club success and a stream of great players.
Arjen Zegers, a former journalist and now a KNVB media officer, explained to AIPS his own recipe for the pressures facing himself and his colleagues on a daily basis.
Zegers said: “Never lie – otherwise you can get into trouble – and respect the journalists. I work hard but so do they and we have to work together.”
** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide and which is currently running a Young Reporters project in the Netherlands with the cooperation and support of European federation UEFA. More information at www.AIPSmedia.com