One of the main objectives of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network is to link its member cities, to create synergies and promote mutual learning experiences.
A sporting event recently took place in Mainz that perfectly illustrates this concept: a football match between the Athletic de Bilbao and Mainz 05.
While this match was not played under the auspices of the Great Wine Capitals, it shows that there are many unexplored opportunities for cooperation among our cities, one of which is sport.
As part of its pre-season preparation, Athletic de Bilbao held a team concentration for two weeks in July in Harsewinkel in Germany’s Ruhr. The team played four friendly matches: ties with Borussia Dortmund and Duisburg and a win over Bochum. The fourth match, against Mainz 05 promised to be interesting as both teams had similar results in the previous season:
|Athletic||8th in Spanish First Division||14||13||11|
|Mainz 05||8th in Bundesliga||13||7||14|
The match ended in a 1-1 tie.
The journalist covering the match for Bilbao, in an article in the sports pages of Bilbao’s El Correo on Saturday before the game, made a number of inspiring observations about Mainz 05:
Original in Spanish:
“El Mainz 05 es más que un equipo de fútbol. Además de contar con una de las canteras más importantes de Alemania, el club de Maguncia mantiene un fuerte compromiso social con su entorno. La institución cultiva una estrecha colaboración entre empleados, aficionados y abonados en clave de cercanía y proximidad. Además, su apuesta por la ecología es firme y en el país es conocido por su activismo. De hecho, el equipo lleva más de una década participando con determinación en la protección del medio ambiente y en la enseñanza de valores sostenibles para un futuro mejor a través de sus proyectos dirigidos a niños y jóvenes. Con el fútbol como la gran corra de transmisión, los teutones entienden el deporte como un nexo de unión entre nacionalidades, culturas y religiones.”
“Mainz 05 is more than a football club. In addition to having one of the most important junior player development programs in Germany, the club from Mainz has made a strong social commitment to its environment. It promotes close cooperation among its employees, fans, and season ticket holders. In addition, it has placed a large bet on ecology and in Germany the club is known for its activism. In fact, for more than a decade it has tenaciously maintained its firm commitment to protecting the environment and teaching sustainable values for a better future by means of projects aimed at children and young people. With football as the great driving force, these Germans believe that sport is a connecting link between nationalities, cultures and religions.”
While at this time it might be wishful thinking to conceive of matches between the football teams from our Great Wine Capitals, the values embodied in Mainz 05’s philosophy: cooperation, commitment to ecology and sustainability and a means to form and reinforce links between different cultures have a lot in common with the philosophy of the Great Wine Capitals.
Thinking outside the box, it would be interesting to explore how the values of the football club might be applied to the values embodied in the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.
Photo: Athletic Club de Bilbao New Stadium San Mamés.
Tom Perry, Inside Rioja