Date of release: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Football barcelonaWomen's Football chair Tia Walby will embark on a trip of a lifetime to Barcelona's legendary Camp Nou stadium in March as part of Santander UK's initiative to support female talent in both their sporting and professional lives.

Tia is one of a select group of leading footballers from women's football clubs at UK universities who will join a programme of events, tours and training.  The programme, organised by Santander Universities, is designed to help build critical thinking and management skills for female talent, both through sporting and wider leadership activity.

The activities will kick off with a panel event on women's leadership, with contributions from Maria Teixidor, Board Director & Company Secretary of Barcelona FC; Laura Ràfols, FC Barcelona; Matias Rodriguez Inciarte, Vice-Chairman Banco Santander & President of Santander Universities; and Susan Allen, Head of Retail and Business Banking, Santander UK, with the session moderated by Manroop Khela, Head of Transformation & CEO's Office, Santander UK.

Tia will also have the opportunity to benefit from a training session with Chapi Ferrer, professional football coach and ex-player of both FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC. In addition, in celebration of Santander's sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League she will have the chance to watch Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and their Barcelona team mates play in the club's vital round sixteen tie against Olympique Lyonnais.

David Maguire, Vice Chancellor of the University, said:

"Here at Greenwich we're keen to support our students in achieving their best both in their academic and personal lives. This initiative by Santander is not only a great opportunity for Tia, but also reflects the work we put in to our sporting facilities and teaching.

"Alongside other initiatives, we have recently invested £1.7m in new sports facilities, meaning almost all student sport can be played on campus, something that the majority of London universities are not able to offer."

Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities, said:

 "We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to top female football talent from across the UK to help develop their leadership skills, both within and outside a sporting context.  We are committed to supporting higher education and we know that those selected for this programme are equally committed to their sport, investing hours into training and are an inspiration to their peers both on and off the pitch. We hope the trip will motivate and support female talent with their career ambitions – whether in the world of sport, finance or beyond." 

Emilio Botín launched Santander Universities in Spain in 1996, as an effective vehicle for business investment into its communities.  The programme now has over 1,200 University partners across 20 countries. Santander Universities UK launched in 2007; encompassing 84 universities and providing over £10m of funding in 2018 alone. The programme focuses on education, entrepreneurship and employability giving all students the opportunity to succeed.