Basmah Nawaf Alshnaifi, a ten-year-old football aficionado from Saudi Arabia was granted a unique opportunity over the weekend. Not only was she surprised with a ticket to the Spurs v Liverpool match at the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid, she was given the chance to be a mascot and walk the pitch alongside international football champions - the likes of Mo Salah, Divock Origi and Hugo Lloris.
She was given the opportunity by Mastercard, the tournament's official sponsor, which has exhibited a long-time commitment to empowering women and achieving gender equality in sport. The financial services giant had offered Saudi cardholders using their Mastercard debit and credit cards for daily transactions the chance to win a ticket to the Champions League final match in Madrid. Basmah was the lucky one.
Paving the way for other young girls and football fans to have a similar once-in-a-lifetime experience, Basmah confessed: "I never thought I would ever have such an experience in my life. I have always had the dream to play in a big stadium and today I am present in the UEFA Champions League Final as a player mascot. I want to thank Mastercard for making this happen. This is the best gift I’ve ever received and I will always remember it. Thank you as well to my family and academy for supporting me."
J.K. Khalil, Mastercard's General Manager for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia expressed his delight at this significant and inspiring first, declaring: "It is heartening to see such unbridled enthusiasm for football among young Saudi girls today."