Match Against Poverty raises US$760,000 for Haiti

04 Feb 2010

Kaka (2nd R) celebrates his goal against the "Benfica All-Stars" with his "Zidane and Friends" team mates Daniel Alves (R), Luis Figo (L) and Edgar Davids during the "Match against Poverty" charity soccer match at Luz stadium in Lisbon January 25, 2010. With tickets at 10 euros each, the match raised funds for victims of the Haiti earthquake. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Lisbon - Benfica Club and UNDP announced, today, that proceeds from the Match Against Poverty equivalent to US$ 767,000 dollars (€557.780) will be transferred to the UNDP’s cash-for-work programme  in Haiti. The programme is putting thousands of Haitian men and women back to work, helping restart life in their own communities.  The announcement was made after the tallying up of all proceeds from ticket sales, broadcast rights, sponsors and direct donations.  

The Match Against Poverty, organized by Benfica Club, Benfica Foundation and UNDP, was held in Lisbon on January 25th.  Over 50,000 spectators were on hand to watch the "Friends of Ronaldo and Zidane” tie with the "Benfica All Stars team” – three all.  Sixty international football players hailing from teams across the world competed in the two star-studded teams. Before the kick-off, participants observed one minute of silence in remembrance of the victims of the devastating earthquake that stroke Haiti on January 12.

Before the kick-off, participants observed one minute of silence in remembrance of the victims of the devastating earthquake that stroke Haiti on January 12.The Match also focused attention on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted in 2000, which seek to halve world poverty by 2015. 

“Every time we get together for this match we can help and make a difference,” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Zinedine Zidane said. “. We can't stress enough the importance of mobilizing people for the recovery of the disaster that just occurred in Haiti and for the ongoing projects we have with UNDP.”

“I think Haiti needs everybody’s support now, said Kaka, who was invited by his good friend Ronaldo, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, to represent him in the match. “Around the world there a lot of problems, but the most urgent problem now is Haiti – and because of that I am very happy to be part of this game tonight and to represent Ronaldo here.” 

The Cash-for-Work programme, co-ordinated by the UNDP as part of its Emergency Relief and Recovery Framework, is working to put 100,000 workers on the street as quickly as possible, ideally doubling that further as conditions and funds allow. 

The work includes removing building rubble from the streets, crushing and sorting of reusable material and disposal of debris. The purpose is to restore essential public facilities, such as light rehabilitation and repairs of public infrastructure, access to water and protection of water sources, markets, communal washing areas, community centers, among others. These will help lay the foundations for mid-term recovery and development.

For the past seven years, UNDP’s Match Against Poverty has raised funds for global efforts to reduce poverty while at the same time shining a much needed spotlight on those efforts.  The Match Against Poverty is supported by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The players, brought together through the efforts of UNDP Goodwill Ambassador’s Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, included two rising Haitian players from the Portuguese Football Clubs, Jean Sony and Joseph Peterson, representing their recently devastated nation.  The Brazilian midfielder Kaká (Real Madrid) represented Ronaldo who, unfortunately, was unable to attend the Match as he started, on 24 January, the Brazilian football season with his Club Corinthians. Other football stars participating in the match included  Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic), Michael Laudrup (Denmark),  Thierry Henry Fabien Barthez and Christophe Dugarry (France), Edgar Davids and Phillip Cocu (Netherlands), Luis Figo, Fernando Couto, and Pauleta, Rui Costa, Nuno Gomez (Portugal), Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu (Romania), Lucas Radebe (South Africa) and Fernando Hierro (Spain). 

The match was refereed by Italian legendary Pierluigi Collina.

Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates; Bruce Jenks, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Partnerships Bureau; Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, and Luis Filipe Vieira, President of the Benfica Foundation, where among the  high-ranking officials who attended the Match.

Contact Information

For more information please contact: Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal, Tel: +41 22 917 8368, Cell: +41 79 349 16 10, aziyade.poltier@undp.org;

Broadcast footage of the highlights of the match is available upon request. For more information please contact Boaz Paldi.  E-mail: boaz.paldi@undp.org