Right To Dream, the global opportunity-creating ecosystem of football academies, professional football clubs and partnering colleges and universities, founded by visionary British social entrepreneur Tom Vernon, has formed a new €100 million partnership with the Mansour Group to help bring greater access, opportunity and equality through football.
The investment in Right To Dream by Man Capital LLP, the UK-based investment arm of the Mansour Group, is being made through Man Sports, a new entity established for the partnership, and will see €30m dedicated to establishing a Right To Dream academy in West Cairo.
Further investment will be dedicated to furthering the activities of the Right To Dream academy in Ghana, the FC Nordsjælland club in Denmark, exploring UK opportunities at club and academy level, and women’s and girl’s programmes across the organisation.
Under the partnership terms, Man Sports will assume majority control of Right to Dream with Tom Vernon remaining the other significant shareholder. Mr Mohamed Mansour, the Founder and Chairman of the Mansour Group, becomes Chairman of the Board of Right To Dream, while his son, Mr Loutfy Mansour, the CEO of Man Capital, becomes a Board member.
The partnership enables Right To Dream to hire new senior leaders across the organisation, with several appointments already being made for the new venture, namely Mohammed Wasfy as MD of the new Right To Dream academy to be launched in Egypt, Pippa Grange taking on a permanent role as Group Chief Culture Officer, and Jan Laursen being promoted into the role of Chairman of FC Nordsjælland.
Right To Dream will extend their academy model to Egypt, by offering a platform to discover talents and develop high-performance athletes focusing on education, following the same model as the successful academies in Ghana and Denmark.
Closely following the new academy’s opening, the launch of a new professional women’s football team will take place.
This elite women’s team will showcase purpose-driven female athletes at their best, embodying the Right To Dream brand and model with an aspiration to recruit and attract top talent into Egyptian professional women’s football.
This comes in line with Egypt’s social development plans and public awareness strategy in promoting the importance of equality and inclusion in sports and enhancing youth participation in shaping the future of their country and contributing to Egypt’s 2030 vision.
Mr Mohammed Wasfy joins Right To Dream as MD and board member of Right To Dream Egypt to lead this project and develop the organisation in the country, supported by the Mansour Group.
Speaking about the investment, Mr Mohamed Mansour, Chairman of the Mansour Group, said:
“I could not be prouder to be investing in and partnering with Tom and his team at Right To Dream, who are inspirational for the life-changing work they undertake with talented boys and girls across Africa, Europe and the Americas.
We have long taken a close interest in their work and are delighted to be announcing our partnership today.
Not only are we a family of football fans, indeed my uncle Mostafa Kamel Mansour even represented Egypt in the 1934 World Cup, but we are committed to supporting communities across Africa, through our foundations and other philanthropic activities.”
An official on behalf of the Ministry of Education commented:
“The Ministry of Education is eager on Right to Dream’s venture onto Egyptian soil and its promises to provide a new era of edu-sport development for our youth.
Mansour Group is taking major steps towards creating social evolutions that go hand in hand with the ministry’s visions for the future of education in Egypt.”
Tom Vernon, who continues in his role as CEO of Right To Dream Group, said:
“For 20 years Right To Dream has been using football as a vehicle for bringing life-changing opportunities through sport and education for children and their communities.
This partnership helps Right To Dream accelerate global expansion plans to provide more opportunities for more children worldwide, continuing to put people and purpose at the centre of football.
With the support of the Mansour Group, we continue to aspire to the creation of a new standard of purpose-driven sports for clubs academies and players.”
Right To Dream academies are not merely a pipeline for talent. They are platforms of opportunity for the boys and girls who contact them on and off the field.
Established in Ghana before expanding into Europe and North America, Right To Dream academies aim to merge people and purpose through the lens of football.
The academies have links to world-class universities and educational establishments and provide a personal development environment for young people who lack access to schooling and sport.
Having already graduated over 140 students, with 82 students currently at the academy, Right To Dream has the vision to create a global chain of academies that fundamentally change the role clubs play in football today.
Pippa Grange, Right To Dream’s new Global Chief Culture Officer, says,
“Skills on the field are just as important as education, character development and aspiration off it. Right To Dream develops every aspect of a child’s life, giving them the best possible support and preparation to make their way in the world.”
Right To Dream is working towards a different future for global football.
“We believe there can be a greater purpose-driven model in football where clubs take an active role in social change, rather than leaning on individual athlete-driven social consciousness.
Our academies do exactly that, and once Egypt is firmly established, we will set our sights on the UK. With our partners and our strong, experienced team, we are hungry to do more for the growing elite sporting talent and educational achievements of children coming through our academies, to help them achieve their dreams”, concluded Vernon.
About Right To Dream
The Right To Dream Group is the global opportunity-creating ecosystem of football academies, professional football clubs and partnering colleges and universities, founded in 1999 by visionary British social entrepreneur, Tom Vernon.
Right To Dream began on a small-scale as a single not-for-profit academy that trained just a few boys on a dust pitch in Accra, Ghana. 2004 saw the first stage of growth, creating an education pathway into schools within the USA, providing RTD graduates opportunities to receive full scholarships that lead into university.
Graduates have historically gone on to play within USA’s USL (United Soccer League Championship) or the MLS (Major League Soccer) leagues. Others move on to work for blue-chip companies.
2010 saw the second stage of growth, launching a new $2.5million purpose-built facility, a fully residential international school which has continued to grow its offering of scholarships to talented children drawn from all over West Africa and is currently ranked as one of the best youth academies in the world.
In 2015, Right To Dream acquired the Danish Super Liga club, FC Nordsjælland (FCN), a team who won the league in the 2011–12 season and qualified for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League Group Stages.
FCN, a club that already emphasised youth within its club model, provided the perfect vehicle to ensure that youngsters would be developed while having the capabilities to realise their full potential both on and off the pitch.
In 2017, FCN launched their girls’ academy, which has proven integral to the FCN Pro Women’s team’s recent successes, who have seen back-to-back promotions over the last two seasons, and a cup win.
FCN, recognised for having the youngest team in Europe for the last three seasons, could well be deemed the most African club in European football, not just because of its ownership.
The club’s first-team squad boasts nine Ghanaians and two Ivorians and a Ghanaian coach on their staff (Michael Essien) all backed up by a fulsome academy programme that mixes Danish Ghanaian youngsters.
About Mansour Group
The Mansour Group is a global, family-owned conglomerate with over 60,000 employees, a presence in more than 100 countries and total revenues exceeding $7.5 billion in 2018.
Founded over 60 years ago, we manage successful businesses across several sectors. We have long-term partnerships with some of the world’s leading brands, including General Motors, Peugeot, MG, Caterpillar, and McDonald’s, among many others.
The Mansour Group takes a patient-capital approach to expand into new sectors and geographies. We make long-term investments in businesses, in partnerships and people. This approach has allowed us to navigate economic cycles and negotiate the challenges of investing in different regions globally.
We are continuously seeking new opportunities, partnerships and relationships to drive growth globally, keeping in mind the importance of giving back to the communities in which our businesses operate.
The Mansour Group consists of six subsidiary companies: Al Mansour Automotive, Mantrac, Al Mansour Holding Company for Financial Investments, Manfoods, Mansour-Maghraby Investment & Development Company and Man Capital.
These businesses operate across the following sectors globally: automotive, banking & real estate, consumer goods, education, healthcare, IT & telecommunications, machinery & equipment, media & advertising, oil & gas, transport and logistics and technology.