CIB Italia Football Camp Returns to Budapest With Del Piero

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From left: Gábor Balogh (Hungarian Association of Student Sports), Pál Simák (CIB Bank), Marco Elio Rottigni (Intesa Sanpaolo Group), Alessandro Del Piero, and Colocci Gianluca (Generali CEE Holding).

After two years of inactivity due to the pandemic, the CIB Italia Football Camp resumed in Budapest with the support of the Generali a Biztonságért Alapítvány (Generali for Safety Foundation). This year, students from schools in disadvantaged municipalities took part in training sessions run by Italian coaches. The star guest was Alessandro Del Piero, a legend of Juventus and the Italian national team.

For the fourth time (but the first in two years), the CIB Italia Football Camp was held in Budapest from June 20-24, where around 120 footballers aged 10-14 could test their skills and learn top soccer training methods.

The participating children, drawn from within a 70 km radius of the capital, were selected with the help of the Hungarian Diáksport Szövetség (Student Sports Federation). A new feature of this year’s camp is that it was attended by pupils from schools in municipalities where children’s access to sport is limited.

“I am in Budapest today because, together with CIB Bank, we believe strongly in the value of sport. The young players who participate in the CIB Italia Football Camp will have the opportunity to train with the best Italian coaches,” said Italian FIFA World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero. “If we discover children with special talents during the camp, we will follow them up, allowing them to show their skills in Italy.”

Del Piero, a 91-time international, spent most of his professional soccer career with Juventus FC, where he played from 1993 until 2012. He was in a total of 513 league matches for the club, scoring 208 goals and making his 700th appearance in 2012. He won six league titles with Juventus, the Italian Cup in 1995, and the Champions League in 1996. Del Piero was a member of the national team that defeated France 5:3 on penalties in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, hosted by Germany.

Italian Trip

Thanks to the support of CIB Bank and its Italian parent bank, Intesa Sanpaolo Group, along with the insurer Generali, the three most-talented participants of the program, free of charge for children, will be invited to a football camp in Italy, where they will continue training with the other winners from abroad. The three youngsters will be accompanied by their families. Among other things, the selected winners will play training matches, visit a soccer museum and watch a top league Serie A match.

“With this initiative, we wanted to give an opportunity to talented young players who might not necessarily be able to participate in such a highly professional training program,” explained Pál Simák, CEO of CIB Bank Zrt.

“The camp is an unrivaled experience and a chance for young footballers to develop their skills, giving them an insight into the world of international football. The camp is completely free of charge for the participating children, precisely so that financial reasons should not be an obstacle,” he stressed.

Marco Elio Rottigni, head of the international subsidiaries of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, noted, “This initiative confirms Intesa Sanpaolo’s commitment to Hungary as a prosperous business environment and to Hungarian society as a whole.”

He said the group recently confirmed it will invest around EUR 115 billion in communities and the green transition in 2022-2025 and EUR 500 million to support needy people. “Our commitment is strong to all local markets where we are present.”

Soccer Stars

Since the initiative’s launch, the CIB Italia Football Camp has brought selected Italian football stars, including former world champions, to Hungary. Two years ago, it was Franco Baresi, one of the world’s best defenders. The Italian men’s national soccer team has won four World Cups, and Serie A is considered one of the world’s strongest leagues. This year, Generali joined the initiative as a sponsor and co-organizer.

Speaking about the camp, Gianluca Colocci, development director of Generali CEE Holding, highlighted the shared values.

“By supporting this football camp, Generali is further strengthening its commitment to initiatives promoting a culture of solidarity and inclusion. We are proud to support local communities by unlocking the potential of people through the programs run by our foundation. This support is also important to our partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo Group in Hungary [through] CIB Bank.”

Gergely Horváth, a member of the board of trustees of the Generali for Safety Foundation, added, “Our comprehensive and constantly expanding programs, which cover many aspects of life, give priority to the future generation because we want every child to develop their potential in the environment in which they live. With our support, young Hungarian footballers from disadvantaged settlements will be able to showcase and develop their skills at the football camp this year,” he said.

The foundation was established to achieve social goals that create opportunities for children and young people to develop healthy physically and mentally.

Speaking about the children selected for the CIB Italia Football Camp, Gábor Balogh, President of the Hungarian Association of Student Sports, said, “In the selection process, we focus on equal opportunities and social aspects in addition to talent management.”

Marco Schembri, head of World Camp International Srl, the organizer of the football camp, added: “I would like to thank CIB Bank for making it possible for the fourth time for young Hungarian footballers to develop their talents while enjoying unforgettable experiences. Although we speak different languages, football brings us all together wherever we live in the world.”

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of July 1, 2022.

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