Two largest Football Associations support Match Against Poverty

11 Jan 2010

UEFA announces it will join FIFA in its support of the United Nations Development Programme’s annual football match

Geneva - The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced this week that it will for the first time join the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to support the annual Match Against Poverty. The Match has been held each year since 2003 under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and at the initiative of Zinédine Zidane and Ronaldo, to raise awareness of and to advocate for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) , and to raise funds that support specific initiatives to reduce poverty.

Zinedine Zidane - Match Against Poverty in Malaga
Zinédine Zidane at the 2007 Match Against Poverty in Malaga, Spain.

Up until 2010, the friendly competition pitted Ronaldo and his friends against Zinédine Zidane and his friends. This year, on 25 January, at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, Ronaldo and Zidane will organize a team together to play against a Benfica all stars team. Ronaldo, who is currently playing for Corinthians FC of São Paulo, and Zidane, the former captain of the French national team, are both UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors.

UEFA President Michel Platini said the match is a concrete example of an act of solidarity with the poor. “One of UEFA's key aims is to channel the immense popularity of the game into positive social forces. This match is a concrete example of solidarity in action.

“I am proud to lend my full support and UEFA’s name to the 7th edition of the Match against Poverty’’, he said. “This event demonstrates how football can be used in the fight against social ills such as poverty, exclusion and illiteracy.”

Cecile Molinier, director of UNDP’s Geneva Office, said the Lisbon match will emphasize the importance of all stakeholders and sectors of society working together to address global poverty. She also said although the challenges may seem insurmountable, there is a lot of good news. “Despite the challenges, progress is being made – reducing the number of people living below the poverty line, educating more children and saving lives. The MDGs can still be achieved if all countries live up to their commitments,” she said.

Molinier said the funds raised in the previous six matches have benefited anti-poverty initiatives, such as support to female entrepreneurs for the construction of sports centres for street children and the underprivileged, throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“I am sure all those attending the Lisbon match will have a most enjoyable and rewarding evening,” concluded Platini, “knowing their presence will contribute to solutions that can make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”

The tickets for the Lisbon Match are available through the Benfica website at www.slbenfica.pt.

Contact Information

For more information contact Aziyade Poltier-Mutal, UNDP Communications Partnerships Manager (aziyade.poltier@undp.org; tel: +41 22 917 8368).