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Published on December 14th, 2013 | by Staples Soccer


Ivan Gazidis’ Amazing Nelson Mandela Story

As CEO of Arsenal, Ivan Gazidis is one of the most powerful men in world soccer.

He’s also a great friend of Staples soccer. Former deputy commission of MLS, he plays in the Super Liga and Watermelon Cup whenever he’s in the area during the summer. Ivan was teammates with many Staples soccer alums on the Westport Over-30 men’s team, and keeps in touch with them regularly.

Now, in the days following Nelson Mandela’s death, Ivan — a native of South Africa — tells a remarkable story about his parents.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Ivan’s parents were very active in the white anti-apartheid movement, and had close ties to Mandela’s African National Congress.

Ivan’s father — a doctor — was imprisoned, in solitary confinement — when Ivan was born in 1964. Guards told his father that the infant had died in childbirth.

Ivan said that his parents’ experiences has impacted the work he does at Arsenal, fighting racism in soccer and other social injustices.

Click here to read the entire fascinating story.

Ivan Gazidis (Photo credit/Daily Telegraph Sport)


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