'Action and the Johan Cruyff Foundation have the same DNA'

Niels, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
‘My pleasure. You only celebrate your 30th anniversary once. I would like to take this opportunity to offer you our warmest congratulations. We celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2022, which I really enjoyed. If I can give you a piece of advice: Celebrate it in style, because it is quite an achievement. And we wish Action every success and many more years to come with lots of positive
social impact.’

Thank you. And of course we look forward to continuing our successful collaboration!
‘Absolutely. The Johan Cruyff Foundation literally and figuratively
gives children a space to develop through sports and play. We focus on children with disabilities and on areas where it is not taken for granted that children can play games or practice sports. Outside Europe, this includes the favelas in Brazil, while within Europe we focus on places in neighborhoods where the Action stores are often located as well.

Action and the Johan Cruyff Foundation have overlapping target groups. I can say that this is where we find a lot of common ground. We really have the same DNA. The foundation does everything according to Johan’s values: it is strong-minded, professional, connecting and accessible. I notice that Action also has those values. That is what makes our work together so fruitful.’

Do you have a good success story for us?
‘Oh, I do. I have several, actually. The first story is about our joint opening of Action’s first store in Girona, Spain. Johan Cruyff is a huge name in Spain. He was a great football player and is well remembered to this day, especially in Catalonia. The opening was very festive. Kids had the opportunity to play sports and games on a mobile Cruyff court, which had been installed in front of the store for the occasion. It was so much fun. Another great example are the Action Heroes. The Cruyff Academy has trained Action Store Managers to be Action Heroes. These heroes work with their teams to organize football tournaments for kids in their neighborhoods. Besides the fact that this was great fun for the kids, the coaches also learned a lot about themselves and about the social impact we can have together.’

And what does the future hold?
‘Both Action and the Johan Cruyff Foundation have strong ambitions: we want to get many more children moving. We will continue to do that in 2023. This is necessary, because far too few children play outside and only one-third of all children with disabilities now get the chance to play outside and practice sports.

Of course, I hope we can also keep the energy we have together going and the impact we are having in the years to come. Action is an incredibly valuable partner for us with whom we have a strong connection.’