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FC Barcelona becomes Football for Friendship Nine Values Cup holder for second time

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FC Barcelona becomes Football for Friendship Nine Values Cup holder for second time
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FC Barcelona wins the Nine Values Cup repeating the achievement of 2015 and becomes the only two-times holder of the unique football trophy. The Cup is awarded every year as part of the Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship.

The Nine Values Cup is the only sports trophy in the world whose winner is determined by children. The results of the vote of the programme’s participants – Young Players and Journalists aged 10-16 from 104 countries of the world – named FC Barcelona the most socially responsible club of 2020. The Cup winner is chosen for following the Nine Values of the Football for Friendship programme: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour.

«I would like to congratulate all the people who have made this event possible since, due to the current situation of health crisis that the planet is experiencing, it has been a great success that said event has been held in such a way professional, with extreme sensitivity and transmitting a very positive energy at all times. Congratulations Organizing Committee», – notes the CEO of Soccer Barcelona Youth Academy, sports consultant for football clubs and academies and F4F ambassador Mike Puig.

From 2015, the Nine Values Cup is awarded every year to the most socially responsible football club. Over this time, the trophy was awarded to FC Barcelona (Spain), FC Bayern Munich (Germany), FC Al Wahda (Syria), FC Real Madrid (Spain), Brazilian national team, one of the participants of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and FC Liverpool (UK).

The Nine Values Cup was created by the famous German sculptor Achim Ripperger especially for the Football for Friendship programme. The sculpture is made of aluminum and shows the figure of a young footballer holding the Earth represented as a football. The Cup symolises the future in the hands of the younger generation depending on the values this generation believes and promotes.

In 2020, the Football for Friendship held its Eighth Season, for the first time held in the online format. “It’s great that the organizers were able to hold the eighth season of the project, even if online. This year, I was entrusted with the opportunity to announce the winner of the Nine Values Cup and announce the most socially responsible football club this year. It’s FC Barcelona, I agree with the choice of the Football for Friendship participants, because, despite the pandemic, the club never stopped coming up with something for their fans, including the youngest ones”, – notes participant of the programme, Young Ambassdor from Russia, Denis Aladev.

The football club to receive the Nine Values Cup is determined in three steps. First, there is a global vote in which any club can participate. Second, a list of clubs-finalists who’ve gained the most votes is formed. Finally, Young Participants of the Football for Friendship programme vote to determine the club that has succeeded not only in sports, but also in implementing social initiatives.

This award reflects the idea that children have about good deeds; it supports and inspires professional clubs to continue doing social initiatives aimed at helping others.

 

Compliance Updates

Ensuring Integrity: The Role of Assurance in the Gambling Industry

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Ensuring Integrity: The Role of Assurance in the Gambling Industry
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By Salvador Garcia-Noblejas, Senior Regulatory Assurance Services at ComplianceOne Group

The gambling industry has its origins in the ancient period, and different types of games are found in almost every culture and civilization.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed an immense transformation, clearly boosted by technological developments. Among these changes, online gambling has grown rapidly, and with this new non-face-to-face reality, regulation and regulators have also embraced new ways to protect players, businesses, and the overall economy. Regulators have the responsibility to set the framework of common rules that define what is right and wrong, the means to protect all parties, and the tools that must be used when anyone does not behave as expected.

Assurance in a world of global risks

It would be inaccurate to assume that regulatory assurance’s only goal is to ensure that operators operate in a fair and transparent manner and meet their legal obligations. On the contrary, assurance also includes helping businesses understand the risks involved in the industry where they operate, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and setting measures to mitigate those risks.

Assurance’s starting point consists of an interview phase where tailor-made questionnaires serve better understanding the reality to each operator and its actual circumstances. Once the assurance assessment is complete, a detailed action plan assists the operator in fixing any identified gaps, improving policies and procedures, and obtaining the maximum financial gain from refining their processes, products, and operations.

As part of the fast transformation of the gambling industry, with competitive new products, platforms, advertisements, and market expansion, we must not forget that bad actors and illegal practices also develop. This is the moment to ask ourselves if we are ready to face whatever can harm our operations. The most efficient way to know is carrying out a thorough audit of policies, procedures, and processes. This approach will certainly save operators from potential harm to their clients, products, brands, and finances.

Audit readiness

Regulators focus on legislation, supervision, and enforcement. All stakeholders must comply with gambling regulations if they want to offer products and services or provide a safe environment to their clients. An important part of the gambling legal system is the fact that the industry is continuously overseen to ensure that all actors adhere to the established rules. At this point, operators need to ask themselves how ready they are to show sufficient evidence that their operations adhere to the law.

Smart operators will choose to comply with as many rules and regulations as their business is capable of, and they will ensure that records are properly kept. Company leadership is essential in ensuring compliance as it contributes to collaboration between departments and having policies and procedures that make the business run within the parameters of the legislation.

Lessons learned

In recent years, some highly publicized enforcement actions, including fines and penalties, license suspension, and revocation, have alerted the whole gambling industry. From such cases, there have been increasing efforts in reviewing processes, improving systems, and growing compliance departments.

Experience in the gambling industry has taught us that it is crucial to have a detailed understanding of the regulations that govern the relationship between operators and players. Where knowledge has been insufficient, inaccurate, or out of date, some business decisions have led to unwanted consequences, sometimes catastrophic ones.

Knowledge, a solid compliance culture, strong procedures, and willingness are the formula to be ready for a regulatory audit.

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Soft2Bet Announces 2023 Financial Results

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Company’s strong growth driven by Motivational Engineering Gamification Application (MEGA), sports betting, and geographic expansion.

Soft2Bet, a leading B2B casino and sportsbook platform provider, today released several key metrics demonstrating impressive company growth in 2023. Soft2Bet’s revenues grew steadily in 2023, as the company’s focus on expansion in regulated markets and highly gamified products enabled it to deliver its strongest year to date. For 2023, the company recorded an audited growth of 46% in gross revenue across its B2B and B2C operational areas. This corresponds to a 207% increase in EBITDA from the prior reporting period.

These results were driven by several factors, including the introduction of Soft2Bet’s gamification solutions known as Motivational Engineering Gamification Application (MEGA), which have proven to significantly increase Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) by more than 60%, player engagement and average revenue per user (ARPU) by 70% for the company’s partners.

Other contributing factors include strong growth in the company’s sports betting solutions, which saw a revenue increase of 300% in 2023, and expansion into a number of regulated markets with new licenses in Sweden, Greece, Romania and Italy.

Uri Poliavich, CEO and founder of Soft2Bet, commented: “With our MEGA solutions and ambitious expansion strategy, 2023 was an incredible year for our family at Soft2Bet. I have no doubt we’ll continue to see strong growth in 2024 as we innovate our gamification engine. We are already developing partnerships with new and old friends, expanding into North America, and delivering more game-changing solutions for our partners this year.”

In 2024, Soft2Bet will focus on further expanding its presence in Europe and North America. The company looks forward to entering the US market in New Jersey, as well as expanding into Portugal and Ontario, Canada and Mexico over the course of the year.

Soft2Bet’s primary focus remains on enhancing its MEGA technology. Powered by a robust tech stack, this solution consistently boosts engagement, volumes, and revenues by providing unparalleled personalization and tailored user experiences. Innovation remains at the core of the company’s philosophy, and going forward it will look to integrate AI and other new technologies to enhance and inform new features.

 

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North Star Network acquires SportsMole.co.uk

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North Star Network are delighted to confirm the successful seven-figure sum acquisition of SportsMole.co.uk, whichbecomes its first significant investment of 2024 and the latestaddition to NSN’s sports media portfolio.

With over a decade of online heritage, and seven million sessions monthly, SportsMole becomes one of the flagship assets in North Star Network’s family of over 30 sportsm edia sites globally.

The latest addition to the NSN portfolio joins existing media properties including Top Mercato, Afrik-Foot, Trivela, Premier League Brasil, and Vringe to expand North Star’s international footprint while providing a strong home for our UK-focused coverage.

North Star Network co-founder Julien Josset said: “I want to thank Alan Jay and Neil Wilkes for their trust.

SportsMole is a well-known sports media brand in the UK and many other English-speaking countries. Our ambition is to take this brand to the next level, by refining the editorial product, migrating to a new platform, and diversifying the
monetization sources to make it a sustainable asset for North Star.”

Founded in 2011, SportsMole is a sports news site delivering the latest breaking news and results from multiple sports, with a specific focus on football.

As well as providing coverage for the UK audience, SportsMole also enjoys a readership across the Anglophone world, with significant visibility in Africa and the United States.

SportsMole founders Alan Jay and Neil Wilkes said: “We are thrilled to conclude an agreement with North Star for the acquisition of SportsMole.co.uk. They have a proven track record of working with the biggest sports brands around the world, have a wealth of talent and experience at their disposal, and we are confident that they will take SportsMole.co.uk onwards to the next level in the years to come.”

NSN are excited to work with the SportsMole legacy team, who have demonstrated their ability to consistently reach a broad audience with their predictions and match coverage, and are excited to develop the site using their creative, data driven approach to sports media.

North Star Network is a leading sports media group, operating sports brands across 30 countries. With a headcount of 85 people, the company is headquartered in Paris, with offices in Lille and Sao Paulo.

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