The world’s top soccer stars will not only score for their home countries at next month’s World Cup but also shoot goals for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under a campaign that kicked off today, using one of the most popular sporting events on earth to show how sport can create self-esteem, self-confidence and trust among children
The world’s top soccer stars will not only score for their home countries at next month’s World Cup but also shoot goals for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under a campaign that kicked off today, using one of the most popular sporting events on earth to show how sport can create self-esteem, self-confidence and trust among children.
The Unite for Children, Unite for Peace campaign, launched by UNICEF and the world’s governing soccer body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), spotlights the power of soccer in promoting values of peace and tolerance within communities and at the international level.
It includes a public service announcement featuring some of world’s top players, including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, an interactive website, video profiles of children who have overcome situations of violence, and a manual for players and coaches designed to combat violence and discrimination, particularly against girls.
“Whether they are playing on busy streets, in crowded refugee camps or amidst the chaos of conflict, children find joy through sport,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said of the campaign built around the month-long World Cup being held in Germany from 9 June.
“But sport is more than just a game – it is also one of the best ways for children to learn team work, tolerance and the value of play. UNICEF and FIFA share a common commitment to transforming young athletes into upstanding citizens,” she added.
“FIFA selected UNICEF to be the official goodwill cause of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ based on the longstanding alliance of our two organizations and our common goals of fighting for the rights of children,” FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said.
“FIFA is pleased to be working with UNICEF to carry the message that sport – and particularly football – is a peace-building exercise and the core of childhood, and one that can contribute to making the world a better place.”
The announcement, produced by MTV International and featuring a 15-man “Team UNICEF” of World Cup players, will be shown before each of the Cup’s 64 matches.
The roster includes: David Beckham (England), captain; Emmanuel Abedayor (Togo); Christoph Metzelder (Germany); Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire); Thierry Henry (France); Tim Howard (United States); Rafael Marquez (Mexico); Lionel Messi (Argentina); Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan); Ji-Sung Park (Korea); Eduardo Tenorio (Ecuador); Francesco Totti (Italy); Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands); Paolo Wanchope (Costa Rica); Dwight Yorke (Trinidad).
The football coaches’ manual, published in English, French, Spanish and German and distributed globally, seeks to help them break the barriers of discrimination and violence by finding ‘teachable moments’ to talk to young athletes about tolerance and teach them that violence does not equal strength.