Playing together is a way to make friends and learn / Children vs. the Bank’s Management Board just like in the UEFA Champions League finals!

This year’s employee engagement survey ended with a unique event – a football game between the Management Board of Santander Bank Polska and the children of our employees. It was a great opportunity to learn and experience that straightforward communication is important and valuable, not only when playing football but also on a daily basis. Our bank strongly supports such communication.

Two games were held on the day, for younger and older children. Both were preceded by the official UEFA Champions League anthem and the players were walked on the field by professional football referees, boldly supported  by Dorota Strojkowska (Board Member in charge of the Business Partnership Division) and Gerry Byrne  (Supervisory Board Chairman) who did not plan to play in the game but when emotions took over, ultimately joined the Red team.

Both games provided unforgettable experience! A few minutes before the final whistle, the referee awarded a penalty to the Red team which was losing 4:5 at the time. Gerry Byrne who decided to take the responsibility approached the ball. It was a strong shot but the goalkeeper defended it! A minute later, the other team scored after a successful counter-press and it was clear that the White were going to win! But the Supervisory Board Chairman did not say his last word yet. In the last seconds of the game the referee once again pointed to the penalty mark and this time Gerry Byrne scored a goal and the game ended with the 6 to 5 victory of the White team! It was a game in which everyone could feel like a player in the real UEFA Champions League finals.

The fans who gathered at the training field of the Legia stadium with red scarves were cheering their team really loud! The emotions ran higher with every minute and in the last minutes no one was sitting anymore. Everyone gathered along the side lines trying to cheer the players  under the direction of a funny cheerleader with a megaphone.

The organisation of the games was really outstanding. There was even live comment by a famous TV sports commentator Bożydar Iwanow. Each of the 90 children received a T-shirt  with his/her name so the commentator could easily recognise the players on the field. Each comment helped to build the real emotions and  Bożydar Iwanow  took care of every detail to make the matches as realistic as possible. We even had breaks for VAR analysis and waiting for resumption of the game after a TV commercial break.

All participants received special cups commemorating the event.

The former coach of the Poland’s national team was present in the audience. Cheerleaders kept the players motivated  and during the break Bożydar Iwanow interviewed the children. Just like in a real football game. The special guest was the goalkeeper of Legia Warszawa. Everyone could also take a picture with Legia’s official mascot, Kazik the Bear, or a selfie against the sponsor wall with the Santander logo, just like the players in the press zone after a real  game.

A lot of additional attractions were prepared for the children, including a tour around the Legia stadium during which the children could pop into the players’ changing rooms and other areas normally not open to the public, plus a number of competitions with prizes, face painting, a penalty kick contest and other activities. It was a day full of football-related  emptions for both the children and their parents, as befits the official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League.