Seedorf bids to cure game's ills off the pitch

( Reuters ) - AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf is on a mission to clean up football's damaged image.

The Dutch international thinks Italian soccer can cut down on fan violence by making stadiums more family friendly and is the founder of a charity which uses sport to improve children's education in poorer parts of the world.

He is also concerned about helping players who end up in the headlines for the wrong reasons and has set up a management company, of which he is the first client, to try to improve the services offered to footballers.

"Football is not just what you do on the field," Seedorf told Reuters at his home. "I want to help. I don't feel it like a weight on my shoulders. It is something I want to do."

Seedorf, born in the poor South American state of Suriname before moving to the Netherlands, would seem the ideal footballer to get the message across.

The 31-year-old is also the only man to have won European Cups with three different clubs -- Ajax, Real Madrid and Milan.

Milan's game at Atalanta last month was abandoned after fans tried to smash a fence next to the pitch in an ageing stadium, the latest in a series of hooligan incidents in Italy.

At Milan's Champions League 1-1 draw at Benfica's ultra-modern Stadium of Light last week, Seedorf saw where Italy had gone wrong and that new grounds attract calmer fans.

"In Lisbon, it was a great stadium, very public-friendly. Simple things make a difference. That's what we need here in Italy. We need to build new stadiums. Outside of Italy people are addressing these issues," he said.

Football's ills, he says, extend to millionaire players, hauled around clubs by money-making agents and sometimes trapped in a world of excess with little thought for their careers after soccer.

Seedorf felt action was needed and so founded his own all-encompassing management firm, ON International, a year ago.


The agency is also an entertainment and investment management company which is trying to offer a range of services Seedorf believes are unavailable elsewhere.

As the first client in his own company, Seedorf entrusted ON International to help negotiate a new contract keeping him at Milan until 2011. The firm also ran a media campaign to improve a tarnished image in the Netherlands, which helped him to regain his place in the Dutch national team.

"Without players there is no football but they need to have more awareness of what they can build, what their reach is, what responsibilities they have. For sure you start working on the younger players, it is easier to educate them," Seedorf said.

"I am aware of my own position and my responsibilities to youngsters watching us. You are a role model. But without a structure there is too much to focus on.

"You perform better if you are freer from some of the issues and you focus more on your main goal -- playing great football. In most sports with elite performance they don't just have agents, they have structures which help them grow as a person."


ON International's other clients include Milan and Italy defender Daniele Bonera with more high-profile names to come.

"Players don't trust most of the people around them. I wanted my face as the first client for people to understand that it is serious and transparent," Seedorf said. "We will work on it long term and it will absolutely make a difference in football."

His foundation, Champions for Children, is another part of Seedorf's grand plan.

"I'm on a mission partly to make a difference in the world for the better, starting with the kids. They are the future. In most places in the world there are no structures. There's no personnel to be able to educate like in the West," he said.

"We are using sport especially football to educate moral values...dignity and self-respect that will make a difference in the long term."

Schemes funded by the charity include the construction of a Kenyan school and a sports centre in Brazil while there are plans for projects in Djibouti and South Africa. Seedorf is most proud of helping to start a football league in his native Suriname involving 640 children from ages nine to 15.

"We've created a competition for them to be off the streets. But they have to go to school to be part of it," he said.

"We want a manual and then apply it elsewhere in the world. We want a legacy, to leave something there for generations."

AP publishes article covering Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s Ganja on Oct.17 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
AP publishes article covering Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s Ganja on Oct.17 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan supplying drinking water to liberated Shusha city (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan supplying drinking water to liberated Shusha city (PHOTO)
Putin meets RSC members to discuss Russian peacekeepers' activities in Karabakh
Putin meets RSC members to discuss Russian peacekeepers' activities in Karabakh
Loading Bars
AP publishes article covering Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s Ganja on Oct.17 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
OIC adopts resolutions in connection with Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan
President, members of Board of European Muslim Forum send letter to President Aliyev
Aghdam district of Azerbaijan after 27 years of Armenian occupation (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan to bring waste processing level to average European level
UK appoints minister in charge of COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Number of blocked malware in AzStateNet network drops
Airport in Uzbekistan to buy auto parts via tender
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 29
Azerbaijani team takes third place in group exercises at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships
At least 6 killed in Somali capital suicide bombing
Microsoft Azerbaijan to support all initiatives in liberated territories of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan shows footage of Kalbajar's Vang village (VIDEO)
Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence
Electricity imports growing in Georgia
Cargo, passenger traffic via Turkish Sabiha Gokcen Airport slumps amid pandemic
Uzbek-Korean JSC Uz-Dong Won Co. announces tender for steel pipes supply
Cargo transportation at Turkish Antalya airport reduces
Austria records nearly 1,000 COVID-19 deaths over past 10 days
State Employment Agency of Azerbaijan opens tender on supporting start-up projects
Results of Azerbaijan's junior national team performance at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships announced
Details of Iran’s exports to Iraq declared
Azerbaijan reports 4,212 new COVID-19 cases, 1,760 recoveries
Four citizens dead as result of mine exploding in Fuzuli - Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office
Kazakhstan's export volumes to China surge despite COVID-19
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president, diplomats, Garabagh FC representatives visit Aghdam Mosque (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan committed to promoting socio-economic development of Afghanistan
Georgian oil companies seek to avoid price increases
Tender for maintenance of elevators, escalators launched in Turkey
Azerbaijan's ten-month output of oil products declines
Turkey's export of grain and legumes to Turkmenistan up
Turkmenistan, Belarus discuss program of cooperation
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 28
Azerbaijani president's assistant, diplomatic corps reps arrive at liberated Aghdam city
Rural digitalization project successfully underway in Kazakhstan
Missile fired to Tartar by Armenia delivered to local museum - president's assistant (VIDEO)
Number of enterprises put into operation in Iran's Ardabil Province up
Water problems center to be created in Uzbekistan’s Khorezm region
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of lubricating oil
Azerbaijan’s Baku Telephone Communications opens tender
Georgia sees increase in COVID-19 cases
Number of shells fired at Tartar district by Armenian Armed Forces revealed
German minister says partial lockdown could last until Spring 2021
Kazakhstan doubles export to Afghanistan
Price of apartments in Iran’s Tehran rising
Autumn grain sowing carried out on large area of land in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Baku Metro to buy inert materials through tender
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Azerbaijani president's assistant, diplomatic missions visiting Tartar (PHOTO)
Turkish soldiers to soon begin their missions in Azerbaijan - Turkey’s VP
Georgian Basisbank launches service for purchase of government securities
Azerbaijan shows footage of Kalbajar's Istisu village (VIDEO)
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for November 28
Turkey issues 10M2020 data on cargo, passenger traffic in Adnan Menderes Airport
Assistant to Azerbaijani president, Karabakh football club to visit Tartar, Aghdam cities
Azerbaijani oil prices reaching $49 per barrel
Tesla could widen release of 'self-driving' software in two weeks
Iranian currency rates for November 28
Kazakhstan’s Intergas Central Asia opens tender for equipment modernization
Turkish municipality to rent vehicles via tender
Turkmenistan, EU discuss prospects for developing bilateral contacts
Iran seeks to cooperate in auto sector with foreign countries
Azerbaijani flag raised in liberated Kalbajar city after 27 years (VIDEO)
OPEC+ likely to roll over its current production cut at least until end-March 2021
Brazil's COVID-19 death toll nears 172,000
826 new coronavirus cases in 24 hrs, total at 130,039
Georgian Poti FIZ plans to implement production of high-tech electrical devices in 2021
Chinese mainland reports 6 new imported COVID-19 cases
British, Irish prime ministers discuss EU trade negotiations
Kazakhstan increases exports to Georgia multifold despite COVID-19
France reports 957 new COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations down
76 more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day
OPEC+ monitoring committee postpones meeting on oil production cuts deal in 2021 to Sunday
Brexit goes down to the wire: EU and UK say big differences remain
Iran expected to reduce potato production
Azerbaijan national team won silver and bronze medals at 36th European Championship in Ukraine
Diesel fuel production down in Azerbaijan
Кazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company opens tender to buy batteries
Export of grain and legumes by Turkey to Iran down
Turkey registers nearly 30,000 new coronavirus cases as recoveries surpass 390,000
Kazakhstan has high hopes for homegrown COVID-19 vaccine - Minister
Georgia expect stabilization of pandemic with the expansion of restrictions
Iraq reports 2,545 new COVID-19 cases, 547,215 in total
Resolution adopted by French Senate is gross violation of int'l law - Honorary Member of French Parliament
Erdoğan urges public caution against COVID-19 in Turkey amid violations
76 Iranian professors among world top 2% scientists
Monetary policy in Georgia remains tightest among CIS - Renaissance Capital
Representatives of Kyrgyzstan take part in XVIII meeting of CSTO ICMEC
Britain records 16,022 new coronavirus cases, 521 new deaths
Azerbaijani gymnasts reach finals of 36th European Championship in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Ukraine
Turkish political parties condemn French Senate’s resolution on Karabakh
World Maritime University, Georgia aim to develop maritime education, capacity-building activities
Georgia makes giant strides in transposition of energy efficiency acquis
Cash receipts from Azerbaijan to Georgia increases
Number of debit cards in Azerbaijan increases
Uzbekistan increases raisins export to Netherlands
Georgia to subsidize wheat flour price
IAEA to implement multiple projects in Georgia
Uzbekistan, Hungary consider establishing Uzbek-Hungarian Business Council
Uzbekistan confirms repayment schedules on ADB loan for solid waste cleaning
All news