Saturday 5 July is International Co-operative Day – and it just so happens to coincide with the second day of quarter-final matches in the World Cup.
The International Day is an annual celebration of the co-op movement that has been observed by the International Co-operative Alliance on the first Saturday in July since 1923. The day focuses on a particular theme, which in 2014 is sustainability. This has also been one of the objectives of the Local Organising Committee of Brazil 2014 – in fact, the committee is working with a number of local recycling co-operatives to separate and recycle 80% of waste generated by the tournament.
As part of the ICA’s celebrations of the International Day, four co-operators from the four countries playing on Saturday share their views on co-operatives, co-operation and the beautiful game.
Argentina v Belgium (5pm BST)
Netherlands v Costa Rica (9pm BST)
ARGENTINA: Gabriela Ana Buffa, Youth Representative on the Alliance Board and youth secretariat for Cooperar – the country’s national federation
Argentina’s football team is currently bringing a wave of excitement across a country that is dreaming of holding the World Cup again.
With it being played so close to home with our Latin American neighbours, it feels almost local. So far it has been an exciting and unpredictable tournament with many surprises, which can be explained with our famous phrase “that’s football”.
But today is even more important because we celebrate the International Co-operative Day. Our own co-operative team – Cooperar – goes out in to the field everyday with the purpose to build a better, more equitable and solidarity world.
The Cooperative Confederation of Argentina is linked with public service organisations, consumer, education, health, tourism, credit unions, and housing production, among others, that improve the daily lives of more than 10 million Argentines.
We are composed of 60 federations, representing a total of 3,000 institutions. These co-operatives are rooted in cities and small towns of our country.
At Cooperar we intend to develop strategies and tactics with the inputs of our associates and expert advice. We also provide cooperative education, advising and training in different areas such as legal, management and finances.
With our federations we have created a great team with the aim to improve social inclusion and income distribution. We sweat the same t-shirt of our national football team for the construction of a better country and world since the integration.
The illusion, hope, work and sustained effort will make us shout harder today: Argentina!
BELGIUM: Matthieu Vanhove – Director, Cera
The International Co-operative Day is a unique opportunity to have the spotlight on the achievements and the challenges for co-operative entrepreneurship. We at Cera, a Belgian co-operative group with some 400,000 members, have three main missions. These missions are: contributing to the financial stability and development of KBC Bank insurance, creating impact in a variety of fields such as care in society and the fight against poverty; microfinance and microinsurance via partnerships; and providing a wide range of services and products to the members. And we are doing fine – more than 13,000 people subscribed to new shares this year – co-operation is alive and well in Belgium.
But 5 July is also an important day for our national football team as the Red Devils face Argentina in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. We are convinced that we have a strong team that can go to the semi-finals and, perhaps, even to the final. But being a small country, we are already quite happy with the results obtained, via a nice co-operative effort of the entire team.
We wish the Red Devils and the other teams all the best in the World Cup.
NETHERLANDS: Fred Bosch – CEO, Coop Netherlands
The fact that this year’s International Co-operative Day coincides with some of the World Cup quarter-finals is coincidental, but meaningful! There are several similarities between the World Cup football teams and co-operatives – and, more specifically, between the Dutch football team & Coop Supermarkets in the Netherlands. It goes far beyond the nation’s color that we both share: Orange.
As with football, it’s all about collaborating when playing the co-operative game. Based on true co-operative principles like fair play, we need to do things together, with a great team spirit. This way, we can score, achieve goals and finally: win!
Just like the Dutch Football team, Coop plays on a high level within the very competitive supermarket industry in the Netherlands. And, just like the Orange team, as we call our Dutchies in the World Cup, we have a very clear vision: Together, we would like to be the best.
The Coop Orange team says: ‘Let’s go for it!’ We join forces and offer our customer members an amazing Coop Supermarket experience. It’s all about great experiences, as our football team showed when impressively beating Spain in their first round opening match in Salvador, Brazil. We are truly proud of our national football team and their dedication in delivering value. And, while we celebrate the International Co-operative Day, for which we wish every consumer co-operative all the best, we are also celebrating our nation’s football team in all our stores with special ‘Orange’ offers.
As for Saturday July 5th, it is time to let the Orange team show what they are really made of. We would like to wish all teams good luck, or, in the domestic languages of all the quarter finalists: Viel Erfolg! Succes! Boa Sorte! Buena Suerte! Bonne Chance!
COSTA RICA: Manuel Mariño – Regional Director, ICA Americas
Fans all over Costa Rica are cheering our progress at the World Cup in Brazil.
It should never have been this easy. Costa Rica was the only team in Group D to have never beat a past World Cup winner – and the only one which doesn’t feature inside the top 10 of FIFA rankings. But history and status proved no obstacle for the Central American team, as it turned the group on its head by progressing as winners. And now with qualification to round 8, confidence in the “Los Ticos” camp is growing.
“This was called the ‘Group of Death’,” Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. “We always thought we would win. The other teams were really difficult but the team came with victory in mind.”
“We are very united,” added goalkeeper Keylor Navas. “We all want to reach the same goal. There are no individualities. This union helps us to believe in ourselves.”
This reminds us of the Rochdale Pioneers, who worked together to overcome adversity and difficulties. This is one of the pillars of co-operatives.
People didn’t have high hopes for Costa Rica, but the team has proved that they can play good football. What these young players have accomplished so far makes a complete country feel proud, and they deserve recognition. Some said it has been just luck; but the entire team has given its best, working as a group and giving strength to one another. They will keep this style and philosophy.
Upsetting the odds with a team from a country with a population of less than five million, people from many other nationalities have identified with the Costa Rican team, lending them their support and solidarity – one of the many good examples of the values and principles of the co-operative movement being put into action.
The dream now is of even more surprises, and staying in Brazil even longer than expected.
• Thank you to all writers for making a contribution, and also to Bernadette Turner, international officer at Co-operatives UK for co-ordinating this article.
In this article
- Coop Netherlands
- Costa Rica
- Fred Bosch
- ICA Americas
- International Co-operative Alliance
- International Co-operative Day
- Jorge Luis Pinto
- Keylor Navas
- Local Organising Committee of Brazil
- Manuel Mariño
- Matthieu Vanhove
- Vincent Kompany
- World Cup
- United Kingdom