European Day of Care is an EU funded project aimed at giving professional athletes the best chance at winning in their post athletic career and professional lives.
Ferencváros hereby proposes the expansion of its initiative which has been launched four years ago. The 120-year-old multisport club together with the Ferenc Mező Sports Committee of the Hungarian Olympic Committee turned first to all Hungarian sports clubs and sport foundations with their initiative in 2015. We suggested that each year on the last day of July, domestic sports organizations evaluate how and what they could do to help their former professional athletes.
Ferencváros is now initiating the establishment of a National Task Force involving national sports governing bodies, sports clubs and higher education institutions, financial institutions, professional partners and other relevant organizations to take actions together. We are aiming to be able to set up systemic, long-lasting solution proposals and action plans towards domestic sport decision-makers and legislators by the end of 2019.
Most professional athletes live in a bubble during their active years. Preparation for a particular match or competition, regeneration and traveling make up most of their time, often spending months away from their families and friends in training camps. As a result of this lifestyle, their social contacts may be minimized. Although most top athletes and players receive outstanding salaries throughout their active years, because of their aforementioned bubble they do not learn how to deal with their financial situation responsibly, are not financially aware and do not think about the years and decades following their retirement.
Most professional athletes and players are unable to cope with the psychological burden that their peak years are finite and that after their retirement they receive much less attention (from the media and supporters) than during their active years. The lack of adrenalin given by attention, competitions and matches, the lack of motivation and vision, the different financial situation and bad financial management are all reasons why several former pro athletes battle with depression, panic attacks, addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling), get involved in crimes, divorce and die ahead of time.
Even though Hungary has several good examples of creating financial security for athletes (Olympic life-annuity, Gerevich-scholarship, Athlete of the Nation, emphasized coaching program, Olympic premium system), this is a global problem with many deterrent examples from home and abroad.
These bad examples and tragedies discourage most parents from guiding their children on a path to a professional athletic career. Because of this, sports clubs are losing many young people who could later become internationally successful, or who could later become important parts of the sports industry as supporters, promoters, and parents.
Ferencváros, together with the S.S. Lazio Basket from Italy, the Portuguese Sporting CP Foundation, HASK Mladost from Croatia, and the Finnish multisport club Tampere Pyrinto invites the sports governing bodies of the participating countries to cooperate and engage in our joint project which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Sport Program of the European Union. Ferencváros, the initiator of this action considers that this problem that was proposed four years ago is complex and systemic, and can only be solved by coordination and conciliation.
Within the European Day of Care project following the 31st of July this year, every week, we’ll show the inspiring story of a professional athlete, who wasn’t only successful in sports but became successful off-the pitch, after retirement from professional sports, too.
We announce the FTC Career Day on October 15th of this year, which aims to showcase a variety of athlete's life paths, illustrate the difficulty of finishing a career as a top athlete and starting a civilian life with well-known Hungarian sports personalities. The primal goal of this event is to encourage domestic sports organizations with the attitudinal presentations to develop answers to this phenomenon. Groupama Arena will be the venue of the event.
In order to achieve the goals of our initiative, Ferencváros its project partners will launch domestic and international campaign films with former world-class top athletes, emphasizing that not all top athletes can reach the top of their sports career, not everyone can stay in the sports industry after their retirement as an athlete, and that the goal is to help these valuable people’s integration into society. The ambassadors of the campaign of Ferencváros are Ildikó Pádár – Olympic silver medallist handball player, Péter Bácsi – 2x World Champion wrestler, Tamás Hajnal – former Bundesliga player in football, and Norbert Madaras – 2x Olympic Champion waterpolo player.
Co-founded by the Erasmus+ Sport Program of the European Union, this international project gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of our initiative at both national and European level. Let the 31st of July be the European Day of Care!