Festive reception by the Belgium-Chinese Chamber of Commerce

The Jan Breydel stadium was the place to be on Sunday 27 august 2017 for the members and invitees of the BCECC. The good weather strengthened the pleasant and relaxed atmosphere among the many attendees.

During his welcome word, the chairman of club Bruges, Bart Verhaeghe, emphasized the importance of football. Football is first “emotion”. To win or lose a match – it does something with humans.

Secondly, football “connects”: you meet people, do business, show your advertising and make contact with consumers. This is an important “facet” of football.

Finally, contact with the fans is very important. Bruges is a small town with a big and well-known football club in Belgium. The many loyal fans support their club very much.

Philippe Mairlot, board member of the BCECC, concludes the introduction by giving further explanation on the functioning of the BCECC and by emphasizing in particular the trade and investment relations between Belgium and China.

After these welcome words, three interesting presentations were given.

Sir Mannaerts Vincent, CEO of club Bruges and a very enthusiast speaker, explained that club Bruges is more than football, it is the ambassador of the city of Bruges. Club Bruges has also the best stadium, the most fans and is the biggest Flemish football club. This club is always on the top and is also a good brand for the sponsors.

He continued saying that when Bart Verhaeghe became chairman of club Bruges in 2012, he initiated the commercial expansion. There are plans for a new stadium in 2021 and a new training complex in 2019. These are difficult projects but necessary for the further development of the club. The mentioning of the logo of the club on the slides  – “No sweat, no glory” –  speaks for itself.

In this context, we learned that club Bruges has 23 exclusive partnerships, for example with Microsoft. Going for visibility is a big purpose here. Working on digital marketing is another goal.

The second presentation, given by Jos Verscheuren, member of the International Football Business Institute, about “Football in China. What is going on?”, was very up-to-date and enlightening. He gave an overview of football in China. How was it before, how is it now and what will it be in the future. He emphasized that football in China is a real business.

Asia is an emerging football market. 31% of urban environments in China are in particular interested in football. There is a “Reform plan of Chinese football / + 50 – Points plan for the period 2020 – 2050”. Not only is there a lot of interest in football, it may also cost a lot of money. Top players are bought at phenomenal prizes for example. The sale of Axel Witsel from our national team is a great example in this case. They will win the world cup one day, is the conclusion of sir Verscheuren.

The last speaker  –  Pascal De Maesschack – head of the Club Academy –  spoke about the “Positioning of the Club Academy in Belgium and the European youth football”. We learn from him that the training of young players is very important because the potential is there. The developing of a professional support with all kind of staff members ( volunteers, coaches, sport trainers, technical and physical experts … ) is necessary to become good players and winners. This is not easy but this is our mission. The recruitment is also very important and difficult. The best potentials have to be taken.

Also important is that we work in a team but with individuals. We work with mental, social, physical … reports. This kind of reports are important to make the best decisions for a player to play in a team in first level, second level or even abroad with the hope on a good transfer later. Closing contracts and making transfers are therefore also important work points of the Academy.

The walking lunch after the three above professional presentations was a relaxing moment for the networking.

But the most important moment of the day and the festive event was the match between two great football champions in Belgium namely Club Bruges and Standard Liège. These are two top teams in the Belgium first division of football.

The Jan Breydel stadium was overtaken by sun and a lot of noise from the fans of the two clubs. They song, made music and were clapping in the hands all the time. It was amazing to be there. Already by the start of the match, Bruges made two beautiful goals. Hans Vanaken made after 3 minutes the first goal  and Hans Moraes the second goal after 7 minutes. Then it couldn’t go wrong anymore for the fans of club Bruges. The tension increased by times but most of all there was a lot of pleasure. In the second half of the match, club Bruges made two more goals: one by Hans Vanaken –  his second goal – after 56 minutes and Brandon Mechele after 80 minutes. Finaly club Bruges won with  4 – 0 against Standard Liège.

Everyone was satisfied not only to have seen a nice match but also and in particular to have had insight into the working and professional approach of a great football team.

Don’t forget the above logo : “ no sweat, no glory “.


Piu Piero

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