Shameful: Silence Over Common Goal Is Startling But Not Surprising

Professional football players are often accused of being self-centred, arrogant and only looking out for number one – and their agent. Juan Mata, the antithesis to this belief since his arrival in English football recently presented an opportunity for Premier League stars to ditch this persona with his Common Goal initiative. The silent reaction to this charity from the Spaniard’s counterparts has been concerning, though, not entirely surprising.

Common Goal, launched by Mata in early August, is a charity with a simple premise. Moneybags rich footballers with more cash than sense pledge 1% of their wage, in Mata’s case, about £70,000-a-year to a plethora of global football charities.

But as of yet, just five professionals have signed up, the majority of them from outside England. It is a damming statement that so few footballers have been willing to publically pledge their support to such a worthy cause, yet this outcome is perhaps the least surprising conclusion.

So far, Italian Giorgio Chiellini, Bayern Munich centre-back Mats Hummels and German compatriot Dennis Aogo, as well as USA Women’s World Cup winners Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have made their intention to support Common Goal public knowledge. Former Arsenal youngster Serge Gnabry, he of West Bromwich Albion benchwarmer fame, is the other known star on board.

And while it is true that some top level footballers may want to donate without making a fuss, this is not just about money. It is about raising publicity and making that 1% go so much further, but this grand gesture is so far becoming an afterthought at the top table of elite football.

“Imagine uniting the world of football behind a shared social vision. Imagine the impact we could create and the lives we could change. Through Common Goal, this is what we are trying to achieve. And we want you to join us.” – Common Goal founder Juan Mata

With just over 3000 followers on Twitter, about 0.05% of Mata’s personal following, Common Goal is yet to sink into either the consciousness or subconsciousness of the average football fan. In fact, one of the most common retaliations on social media upon the initiative’s arrival was that of ‘only 1%’ despite that single percentile being higher than many people will give in their lives.

If you have a spare 10 minutes, it is well worth reading Mata’s poignant message as to how he came up with the idea, all stemming from the 2012 Champions League Final as his united nations of Chelsea teammates rallied to secure a shock triumph over Bayern Munich, praising how individuals from vastly different backgrounds could come together to make something truly special happen.

So far, this Common Goal is proving to be more reminiscent of the Blues’ only other European top class competition final, with Premier League player slipping, much like John Terry from the penalty spot, in painting a new representation of themselves to the fans and the media.