In making the appointment, VfL take on a pioneering role within the German Bundesliga. In his new position, Thiam will become ambassador for the subject of integration, operating as key contact-person within the sporting boundaries, whilst additionally supporting the content-related work being done by the specialist department for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
„I know from personal experience and from my sporting past, just how important integration is. Professional football is opening up to this topic ever more, but within football, there remains a great deal more which can be done for integration, particularly in relation to young people. I want to help our talented youngsters with my experience and quite pragmatically show them the way to deal with the challenges that face them in their new surroundings,” explained Pablo Thiam.
The scope of activities for the Integration Representative also includes the guidance of youth players, moving to VfL from abroad. The former VfL pro will operate in a bridging-function between the players and those responsible for the respective teams. Young players with migrant backgrounds should thus find their integration an easier process.
„Sport can be an important factor in the integration of young people. In the Bundesliga, and also here in this club, we have some very positive examples of successful integration. In the future, we hope to take a more directly targeted and integral approach to this subject,“ commented VfL’s Director of Sport Olaf Rebbe.
Furthermore, at VfL, Pablo Thiam will also publically accompany the topics of migration and integration in an ambassador function. As Integration Representative, he will further encourage and support the creation of awareness and inter-cultural issues.
VfL general manager Dr. Tim Schumacher very much welcomes the new, multifaceted role being assumed by Pablo Thiam: „The acknowledgement of social responsibility is a vitally important aspect of our work here at VfL and integration is naturally a very significant element of that. On the one hand, we are placing immense value on the integration of our players, whilst on the other hand, we are implementing projects together with our partners and the Volkswagen Group in the region of Wolfsburg, which have a notable role to play in the integration of refugees, but also, for example, in the inclusion of handicapped persons. With Pablo Thiam as Integration Representative, we intend to strengthen our social efforts both internally as well as externally. I am delighted that he has taken on this important role for VfL.“
The 44 year old will become active in his new position for the first time on Thursday, March 1st at the Berlin-Evening of the ‘DFL Stiftung‘ (DFL-Foundation), the kick-off for the DFL-Spieltag „Strich durch Vorurteile“ (An End to Predjudice).
Under the motto „Gemeinsam bewegen“ (Moving Together), VfL Wolfsburg have been generating impulses for many years relating to essential socially-political issues, such as education, integration, health and environment. In hosting countless events, people of all ages should be provided with the opportunity to participate in the fan-culture.
The intention is to remove barriers and encourage a diverse togetherness. The annual highlight in this issue is created by the ‚VfL-Vielfaltswochen‘(Diversity-Weeks), which last year attracted over 1,000 participants in the region of Wolfsburg.