MESUT ÖZIL RECEIVES LAUREUS PRIZE FOR CHARITY WORK AFTER FUNDING OPERATIONS ON BRAZILIAN CHILDREN

  • German World Cup winner Mesut Özil helped make possible operations for 23 children in Coroatá

  • ‘We wanted to make a lasting mark in the World Cup country of Brazil and this is something we managed to achieve’ - says Mesut Özil

  • Jens Lehmann also wins prize for his Laureus work and says: ‘My dedication to Laureus is a subject which is very close to my heart’

BERLIN, November 13, 2014 – Germany World Cup winner Mesut Özil has been presented with a special prize for his charity work after making personal donations which helped to make surgery possible on 23 Brazilian children during the FIFA World Cup.

In partnership with the organisation ‘BigShoe’, Özil enabled the operations to be carried out on children primarily suffering from cleft lips and palates, in the city of Coroatá.

The presentation was made at the ‘Laureus Media Prize of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation of Germany/Austria’ event in Berlin, at which contributions made in the field of sports journalism were acknowledged and awards presented to people and organisations who have demonstrated a special level of social commitment.

According to Mesut Özil: "Making the donation was a foregone conclusion as far as I was concerned. We wanted to make a lasting mark in the World Cup country of Brazil and this is something which I think we managed to achieve with the operations on these children."

The commitment demonstrated by Özil and the media attention which was generated also made it possible to attract additional benefactors.

Mesut Özil, who plays for English Premier League club Arsenal, has become a role model for professional football with this aid programme. It has also shown how important it is to him to take his social responsibility seriously and make use not only of his fame and his network of contacts, but also his financial opportunities to improve the lives of children and young people across the world through sport.

He added: "I am proud to have received this Honorary Prize from Laureus. It's a very special feeling to be included on the list of previous winners. However, I don't just consider this to be merely a prize but also see it as an incentive for me to engage in further social commitment."

Alongside the members of the Laureus family, around 200 prominent guests from the media, sports, social and business communities were also present at the tenth staging of the event - the first time it has been held in Berlin. Among the guests were Laureus World Sports Academy Members Franz Beckenbauer and Franz Klammer.  

The 2014 Laureus Media Prize for the Greatest Commitment for Laureus went to Laureus Ambassador Jens Lehmann for his outstanding commitment as the patron of the Kicking Girls project.

He said: "I am extremely pleased to have received this prize. But for me, social commitment is something which comes naturally and my dedication to Laureus really is a subject which is very close to my heart. Of course the girls' football project Kicking Girls is very dear to me and I am supporting it as a Laureus Ambassador and Patron.

“During my active career, I myself experienced how the colour of people's skin, the country they come from or the religion they believe in all have no part to play on the football pitch. It's the team spirit which counts. And this is precisely what Laureus conveys through its projects: sport has the power to change the world," explained Jens Lehmann.

Additional prize winners include:

Spirit of Laureus – Print:          Mannheimer Morgen

Spirit of Laureus – TV:             SPORT1

Spirit of Laureus – Online:       focus.de

Laureus Media Prize for a Social Sports Project:         High Five e.V.

Social Media – Photo:              Rainer Krugmann

Social Media – Video:              Thomas Goepfert

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Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, Laureus Sport for Good and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change. The first Patron of Laureus was Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, he said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Cafu, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, David Douillet, Rahul Dravid, Luis Figo, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick (Chairman), Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Tegla Loroupe, Dan Marino, Yao Ming, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Li Na, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Brian O’Driscoll, Alessandro Del Piero, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Carles Puyol, Raúl, Steve Redgrave, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Sachin Tendulkar, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh, Katarina Witt, Li Xiaopeng and Yang Yang. The Laureus Academy Members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for Laureus Sport for Good, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. Laureus Sport for Good addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €100 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The mission of Laureus Sport for Good is to use sport as a means to combat some of the toughest social challenges facing young people today such as violence and crime, discrimination, unemployment, lack of education and health threats including HIV/AIDS and obesity. The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury – 60 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 160 countries and territories. The Awards continue to support Laureus Sport for Good by showcasing the incredible work it does with athletes and partners to transform the lives of individuals and promoting to a global audience the power of sport as a development tool to combat challenging social issues. Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen. Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz is the inventor of the automobile – and has been passionately shaping its future since 1886. As pioneers in automotive engineering, it is both our inspiration and responsibility to continue the tradition of the brand with trailblazing technologies and high-quality products. Like no other trademark in the automotive world, Mercedes-Benz appeals to both the hearts and minds of its customers. We give our very best for customers who expect the very best. Since the founding fathers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, our corporate history has been one of innovation and pioneering achievements. Many technical innovations that are nowadays standard in automobiles first entered the market in a Mercedes-Benz. This is the basis for our claim to leadership in automotive engineering. The brand stands for Modern Luxury, and enjoys an outstanding reputation for quality, safety, comfort, design and comprehensive, sustainable mobility. IWC SchaffhausenWith a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design. As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institutions around the globe in their work with children and young people and maintains partnerships with organisations dedicated to climate and environmental protection.

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Making the donation was a foregone conclusion as far as I was concerned. We wanted to make a lasting mark in the World Cup country of Brazil and this is something which I think we managed to achieve with the operations on these children. I am proud to have received this Honorary Prize from Laureus. It's a very special feeling to be included on the list of previous winners. However, I don't just consider this to be merely a prize but also see it as an incentive for me to engage in further social commitment.
Mesut Ozil
I am extremely pleased to have received this prize. But for me, social commitment is something which comes naturally and my dedication to Laureus really is a subject which is very close to my heart. Of course the girls' football project Kicking Girls is very dear to me and I am supporting it as a Laureus Ambassador and Patron. “During my active career, I myself experienced how the colour of people's skin, the country they come from or the religion they believe in all have no part to play on the football pitch. It's the team spirit which counts. And this is precisely what Laureus conveys through its projects: sport has the power to change the world,
Jens Lehmann