UNDP Ambassadors Zidane, Ronaldo and Drogba support Horn of Africa at Match Against Poverty
Hamburg — Zinédine Zidane, Ronaldo and Didier Drogba joined superstars of European football past and present at a charity match this evening in Hamburg to raise funds for and awareness of the crisis in the Horn of Africa at the ninth annual UEFA-backed Match Against Poverty.
More than 24,400 football fans filled the HSV Imtech Arena in Hamburg to watch top players reach a 5-4 win for the UNDP team, which also included Christian Karembeu, Fabio Cannavaro, Rabah Madjer and Dida. The event, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is held in a different European city each year and pits the UNDP All Star team against an established football club. The last two years were hosted by Benfica of Lisbon and Olympiakos of Athens/Piraeus.
Wilfried Lemke, speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as his Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, said the proceeds of today’s game will go to the nearly 13 millions of people in need of assistance across the Horn of Africa. “And I am delighted to see that the athletes, the UN family and the world of sport can work together to build a better world,” he said. “The Match Against Poverty has become a leading event in the global fight against poverty.
Sigrid Kaag, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy said the Match Against Poverty represents the best of sport and the best of humanity. “The players and the audience have shown they are One Team for the Horn of Africa,” she said.
This year, UNDP and HSV decided to target proceeds from the Match to support the global effort to address the crisis in the Horn of Africa. Two thirds of the match proceeds were to go towards the UN's attempt to tackle the ongoing food crisis, while HSV originally intended to donate the remaining funds towards diverse community development projects in Hamburg.
However, on the day of the Match, HSV President Carl Jarchow said he and his team would donate all funds to the Horn of Africa crisis. “We are proud to be able to work with UNDP to organize this Match for such an important cause,” he said. “Hamburg, through its port, has always been connected to the rest of the world. The Match Against Poverty is perfectly in line with our values as a team, and as a community.”
Speaking at a press conference just before the Match, Zinédine Zidane, Ronaldo and Didier Drogba declared in unison their appreciation to the people of Hamburg for hosting the match. “It is amazing and encouraging to see so much solidarity and support for Africa from sports fans around the world,” said Ronaldo, who scored a goal in the second period. “And also from so many football players on both sides who took time out their busy schedules to travel to Hamburg in support of this important cause.”