By Jonathan Davies
Sir Bobby Charlton took the top prize of Global Football Ambassador at the Football Business Awards last night (Thursday).
Yesterday saw the winners of the 2014 Football Business Awards announced at Stamford Bridge. In front of an audience of sports stars and key business people, the most influential and game-changing brands, sponsors, clubs and off-pitch talent claimed their title as the best in the football industry.
Sir Bobby received the award both for his outstanding contribution to the game but also for his extensive humanitarian work, primarily through his charity, Find A Better Way.
Simon Burton, Director of the Football Business Awards, said: "Sir Bobby Charlton embodies everything that is good about football’s power to impact positively on people’s lives. He was a gentleman on the pitch and continues to be so off it, using the voice he earned through football to inform and inspire people for an amazing cause."
Find A Better Way was inspired after Sir Bobby visited a minefield in Cambodia, witnessing first-hand the damage caused by landmines in current and former areas of conflict. Consequently the charity is now a major funding body for research at several leading UK universities, including research into engineering biological replacement limbs. Find A Better Way also raises funds for education and victims recovery projects.
categories spanning, technology, hospitality and fan engagement, the winners were:
• Notts County Football Club — Best Club Marketing Campaign
• Perform, at St. George’s Park — Best Business Serving Football (up to £2m turnover)
• ADI UK — Best Business Serving Football (over £2m turnover)
• Chelsea Football Club — Best Football Club Hospitality
• Firstkind Ltd with West Ham United — Best / Most Innovative Use of Technology (club specific)
• FIFA — Best / Most Innovative Use of Technology (non-club specific)
• Sporting Memories Network — Best Football Community Scheme
• Tottenham Hotspur Football Club — Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme
• Manchester City Football Club — Best Match Day Experience
• Everton Football Club — Best Football App
• Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium, Reading — Best Non-match Day Use of Venue
• Brabners LLP — Best Professional Service Business Serving Football
• Queens Park Rangers Football Club — Best Fan Engagement by Club
• Football Foundation / Barclays Spaces for Sport — Sponsorship / Partnership of the Year
• Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal Football Club — fcBusiness CEO of the Year — The Premier League
• Sam Rush, Derby County Football Club — fcBusiness CEO of the Year — The Championship
• Robbie Cowling, Colchester United Football Club — fcBusiness CEO of the Year — League One
• Russ Green, Hartlepool United Football Club — fcBusiness CEO of the Year — League Two
• Steve Brown, St. Johnstone Football Club — fcBusiness CEO of the Year — The Scottish Premiership
• Sir Bobby Charlton — Global Football Ambassador
• Peter Kenyon — Outstanding Contribution Award
Simon Burton said: "Today, business and football are strongly connected, with fans taking a vested interest in events off the pitch as well as on it. Football’s role within the UK is incredibly influential with the sport able to make a real difference in communities, whether social, charitable or educational. It is important therefore that the work football undertakes is inspirational and exceptional and the entrants into this year’s FBAs reflect that.’
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