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Cellcard kicks off new CSR Charter with football academies

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Thousands of fans showed up for a football match in Svay Rieng town to mark the inaugeration of a provincial football academy on Friday. Photo Supplied.

Leading mobile service provider marks 20 years of service with renewed focus on education, health and housing nationwide, and teams up with the Football Federation of Cambodia to establish football academies in every province. 
Cambodian-owned mobile service provider Cellcard has entered a new partnership with the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) that will see football academies open in every province of the country by the middle of next year – a move intended to help develop the sport nationally and provide all Cambodians with access to professional training.
Ian Watson, the company’s chief executive officer, described the partnership with the federation as a boost for the sport, communities and schools nationwide. “At Cellcard we stress long-term relationships and view partnerships as the DNA of our business model as well as the development of Cambodia. By focusing on football we are providing players, families and communities with a healthy and entertaining way to unite to celebrate excellence,” Mr. Watson said.
He also expressed confidence that the establishment of football academies in every province would help discover young talent, and align with the federation’s aspirations to field a strong team in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, which will be held in Phnom Penh.
The football academies are part of a larger commitment to corporate social responsibility that will see Cellcard focus on health, education and housing as part of its new CSR Charter. Executives at the company say they have been focusing on developing a charter that addresses Cambodia’s most pressing needs under the theme “access for all.” 
Mr. Watson explained that this applied to the company’s services to customers, its employees and the communities Cellcard serves. 
“We are seeing a genuine evolution in CSR in Cambodia. Our goal has been to fully integrate this approach in our business model. This starts with employees and extends to customers, suppliers, contractors, government agencies and our international partners,” he explained, noting that the company has been able to attract very loyal employees because of its ongoing efforts to ensure a workplace that nurtures creativity, optimism, confidence and a high level of participation.
“At Cellcard we believe that the workplace is a microcosm of society, so we have carefully created an environment that stresses creativity, self-discipline and the opportunity to freely question and challenge structures and dynamics that may inadvertently impede our development,” Mr. Watson said. 
“We also believe that work can be fun, so this is another reason we are unveiling the football academies as the first component of our CSR Charter,” he continued. Mr. Watson said Cellcard’s research had found great enthusiasm for football across Cambodia, as well as a lack of professional training and facilities.
He, and other executives who have been planning the initiative over the past year, said the football academies could have far reaching impacts on individuals, schools and communities. They will provide facilities and coaching that will allow youths to develop their potential, foster team spirit and self-discipline, and increase social solidarity and pride in all 25 provinces. 
“We will eventually see the rise of provincial teams across Cambodia. The benefits are obvious,” Mr. Watson said. “As the only Cambodian-owned telecom operator in the country, Cellcard is the right partner for a program centered on national pride that reaches all the way to the commune level. We are proudly Khmer and happy to help build interest and talent in the sport. Hopefully, we will see Cambodia as a nation outperform our neighbors in competitive tournaments such as the SEA Games.” 
Cellcard is preparing to announce more initiatives from its new CSR Charter over the coming months. Executives at the company say the occasion of its 20th anniversary, along with the nationwide rollout of its 4G network this year had energized them. 
“There are few countries that have developed as remarkably as Cambodia has over the past 20 years and Cellcard is very proud to be a part of this amazing accomplishment, but we are also looking forward and what we see is quite amazing. We are immensely optimistic about Cambodia’s future, which is why our motto is – and will remain – ‘Proudly Khmer’,” Mr. Watson said.

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