World Football Summit (WFS) is the global football industry’s platform bringing together influential professionals to create opportunities in the sport and define new frontiers. They connect a community of leaders who share knowledge and ideas to drive the evolution of the industry in both business and values. At WFS, they envision the football we all want and actively shape the football the world genuinely needs. United in purpose, their global community of industry professionals is relentless in the drive toward a more sustainable and top-tier football landscape.
The World Football Summit Award recognizes key figures influencing the trajectory of football. The Award Giving Ceremony this year took place on December 11th, 2023 on the eve of the latest edition of the World Football Summit, taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from the 12th to the 13th of December 2023. This year’s Honours paid tribute to four outstanding individuals, each of whom have contributed to and continue to lead the way in delivering a lasting impact within football and beyond.
The first Honour of the night was awarded to Professor Muhammad Yunus, recognising his extraordinary contribution to impact in the sports industry and his lifetime achievements.
Internationally acclaimed as the 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate, recipient of the Olympic Laurel award, and the founder of the Grameen Bank, Professor Yunus stands as a transformative figure in history of social development. The World Football Summit Honours spotlighted his extraordinary lifetime achievements, acknowledging him as one of only seven individuals distinguished with the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the United States Congressional Gold Medal.
In a night dedicated to recognizing outstanding individuals, Professor Yunus stood out for his exceptional societal contributions. The honour specifically celebrated his establishment of the Yunus Sports Hub, a global organisation using the power of sport and social business to tackle poverty, unemployment, and the climate crisis.
Since its launch in 2018, the Yunus Sports Hub has been tirelessly dedicated to empowering individuals and organisations that use sports as a catalyst for addressing social and environmental challenges, grounded in the principles of social business.
In recognizing Professor Muhammad Yunus at the World Football Summit, the honour awarded to him not only celebrated his tireless dedication and passion, but also underscored the profound impact he has had in elevating sports to new horizons.
Professor Muhammad Yunus is a remarkable and inspirational figure who dedicated his entire life to bring about social change and elevate communities. Tonight, he deserved to be recognized not only for his numerous prestigious awards, from the Nobel Peace Prize to pioneering microcredit with the Grameen Bank and Olympic Laurel, but also for his contributions to humanity through his work. His vision extended to the Yunus Sports Hub that harnesses the power of sport and social business to end poverty, unemployment, and the climate crisis. In honouring him tonight, we embraced his remarkable work, and lasting legacy.
“I am truly honoured to receive this esteemed Honour from the World Football Summit. As we celebrate sport, let us recognize its potential for positive change through sports, but let us also recognize our own potential, as human beings, be it individually or collectively, to make a meaningful difference in people’s life. Sport is synonymous with youth, commitment to achieve dreams, creating new frontiers, and its unused social power.
“Let us harness the universal language of sport and the practical power of social business to inspire a future where sport does not only entertains, but also dedicates itself to create a new world free from global warming, wealth concentrstion and unemployment. And most importantly, let us do it with joy!” – said Professor Muhammad Yunus
Other winners of the award are Dr. Nadia Nadim, a professional footballer and physician, was honored for her achievements. Palestine Association for Children’s Encouragement of Sports (PACES), a charity empowering Palestinian refugee children through sports, received an award, accepted by Trustee Helen Aluzaizi. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was honored for football federation innovation, with AFC Secretary General Datuk Seri Windsor John receiving the award.