Urs Meier

Urs Meier worked as a FIFA referee until December 2004. Until then, he had led a total of 883 games as a referee over the period of 27 years. Meier received the Swiss “Referee of the Year” award six times in a row from 1995 to 2000and a seventh time in 2004. Many know Urs Meier from his presence as a football expert for ZDF, for which he has been working since 2005.

Football is not only an important topic in Germany, but also in Namibia, especially in the School Project supported by us, in an area where crime and violence are part of everyday life. Football teaches young people important values such as fairness, respect and teamwork in a playful way and helps them to gain a sense of self-confidence and responsibility. It creates a positive balance in the lives of young people.

“I want to show the red card to violence to children, poverty and problems like AIDS, because children must not be left alone,” says Urs Meier in an interview. And we are very happy that we can show the well-known red card together with Urs since 2017.

Interview with Urs Meier

Volkan: You were in South Africa in 2010. Everyone paid attention to this country every day for four weeks – a consequence of these big events, however, is that they pass while old problems ultimately remain. But did the 2010 World Cup in South Africa perhaps anyway lead to international organizations starting to consider certain topics like, for example, AIDS orphans, because they only became aware of them through the intense reporting during the World Cup? What is your impression: Could the World Cup have created a long-lasting footprint regarding those topics?
Urs: The problem with such a big event is always the same: the world turns on the headlights during this time, the governments and the associations make sure that everything is beautiful, tidy and television-friendly. For example, in South Africa the street children were driven as far as possible to the borders, meaning as far away from the football stadiums as possible, dropped off there and its was known that they would not be able to get back until the end of the World Cup, so this problem was solved. After the World Cup is before the World Cup, meaning that the old problems reappear. Since some organisations have nevertheless decided to provide help on site due to this a major event, it could be that some form of support remains. “My” organization, Kindernothilfe (Emergency aid for children) has been active there before and it still is – that’s what I call sustainability.

Volkan: You are involved in a couple of selected projects: Unfortunately, problems like poverty, illness and need often don’t start to cease. And you are regularly faced with new challenges. How do you keep the belief that it can be better in the end? What is your hope? What motivates you?
Urs: Every single help, every person who is better off, gives me hope. If we lose faith in it, we lose ourselves.

Volkan: What is your favorite quote?
Urs: “Visions without actions are dreams. Actions without visions are wasted time. Visions and actions together can change the world! ”

This interview was conducted in December 2019.