2005 soccer Gold Cup dedicated to Latin American and Caribbean children – UN agency

2005 soccer Gold Cup dedicated to Latin American and Caribbean children – UN agency

Intensifying its efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and violence in the Latin American and Caribbean, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is teaming up with a regional soccer association to co-host a three-week long tournament, with ten countries battling for a trophy under the slogan “With Children We Win.”

UNICEF and The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced the joint venture today just ahead of the first game. Ten countries from the CONCACAF region and guest teams Colombia and South Africa will battle for the Gold Cup in games played in seven stadiums in six cities across the United States through 24 July.

“We have started a dynamic dialogue between UNICEF and the soccer associations in Central America and the Caribbean on how we can protect children and build values starting at a young age,” said Nils Kastberg, Regional Director of UNICEF for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Through the Gold Cup we have an opportunity to reach millions of soccer fans to educate them on the risks of HIV/AIDS infection, on the importance of stopping violent behaviour and other key messages to protect young lives.”

The special focus on HIV/AIDS and violence is due to the particular importance these issues carry in the CONCACAF region. With a prevalence rate of 2.3 per cent, the Caribbean region has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, next to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Latin America is one of the most violent regions in the world, with children and women the main victims. Sixteen per cent of children in Latin America and the Caribbean assert that they are being maltreated in their homes, either through physical or verbal abuse.

“We need to work in partnership to get girls and boys on to sports fields and playgrounds, and to educate children and their families about the benefits of sports. UNICEF has a long standing cooperation with FIFA as well as CONMEBOL and CONCACAF to develop programmes to guarantee children’s right to play,” said Mr. Kastberg.