Our Partners SFV – Behind the Scenes of the Swiss National Football Team
In just a few weeks, the Swiss national team will be traveling to the European Championship in France. This is a real highlight for fans and Credit Suisse alike: After all, for more than 20 years, Credit Suisse has been the main sponsor of the Swiss Football Association (SFV). So what does the football association do, and what kind of support does Credit Suisse give? We found the answers.
In the football stadium, when our favorite team is playing, usually it's only the moment that counts: football, goals, passion, and emotions. What happens behind the scenes and the work involved, on the other hand, receive little attention. Of course it takes a lot of people to get the players on the pitch in the first place. We spoke with Thomas Schneiter from the SFV and with Michael Rütti, in charge of football sponsorship at Credit Suisse, about the role of the association and the goals of the partnership.
So, what is the SFV?
SFV: The Swiss Football Association is the umbrella organization of Swiss football clubs. It was founded in 1895 as one of seven national associations that created the FIFA international football association. Today, the SFV is the country's most important sports association.
And what does it do?
SFV: We take care of various things in cooperation with three other departments: the Swiss Football League (SFL), the First League, and the Amateur League, along with the member clubs. First, we ensure proper football operations. The main goal is to provide a technical and regulatory foundation. However, a key part of proper football operations includes training opportunities for coaches and referees. Active, systematic promotion of young talent is also part of our job. We provide talented junior players with the character, technical, and tactical tools for the most successful football career possible.
We also lead many prevention campaigns. We promote mutual respect, tolerance, and fair play. We are also firmly committed to preventing all forms of discrimination and violence, on and off the football pitch.
We play an active part in international football tournaments and help organize and publicize them. In this way, we generate enthusiasm for football and reinforce our position as the country's leading sports association.
Last but not least, we represent political interests and establish key networks. The goal is to provide the best possible framework conditions for amateur and professional football. In so doing, we focus primarily on the socio-political significance of football as a sport.
The European Championship begins in a few weeks in France. What does a sporting event like this mean for the SFV?
SFV: In sporting terms, of course we're hoping that our national team at least survives the group stage and gets to the round of sixteen. We were knocked out in the group stage at the last few European Championships. Now we want to go a step further – that's important to us. The association, and Swiss football, would also benefit from this financially. In purely economic terms, however, we are no longer financially dependent on getting to the finals of a large tournament such as the World Cup or European Championship. We are free of this risk concentration and today the association is in a much better place financially than it was ten years ago.
How does Credit Suisse support the SFV?
Credit Suisse: For 23 years now, Credit Suisse has been the main sponsor of the Swiss Football Association (SFV) and is a partner to all the youth and senior national teams – both the men's and the women's. Thanks to this commitment, Credit Suisse helps to provide a solid basis for football and enable top athletic performance on all levels.
Is there a focal point of the partnership?
Credit Suisse: Promoting young talent is very important to Credit Suisse. Half of the sponsorship contributions that the SFV receives is invested in training for skilled young football players. Thus, not only the elite, but also young talent benefits from the generous support. We also promote young Swiss football players with the Credit Suisse Cup. This schools football championship is Switzerland's largest youth sporting event. Each year, it welcomes more than 150,000 children and youths to the football pitch. For the little ones, we have the Kids Festival – it's an incredible football experience with a tournament program and contests, autograph sessions, and terrific food.
The promotion of young talent has a direct impact on the success of a team. Is the Swiss national team on the right track here?
SFV: In recent years, we have seen an unprecedented number of successes in Swiss football: the world championship title for the Swiss U-17s in 2009, second place for the U-21s at the European Championship in Denmark in 2011, and multiple participations in European and world championships. In April 2016, the women's U-19 team also qualified for this summer's European Championship.
Of course we want to keep up the good work at the European Championship in France, and provide tough opposition to the teams from Albania, Romania, and France.
Credit Suisse: We sincerely hope that the Swiss national team goes as far as possible in the tournament. It would be great if the work over the past years continued to pay off, and the national team could qualify again for the first time in decades for the quarter-final in a major tournament.