Ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world body and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association have agreed to further their collaboration to enhance the role of sports in furthering peace.
The decision was reached at a meeting today at FIFA headquarters in Zurich between the football organization’s President, Joseph S. Blatter, and Wilfried Lemke, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace.
“In recent years much has been achieved using football, as the world’s most popular sport, as well as other sports” in areas including health, children’s rights, education and the fight against racism, said Mr. Lemke, who served as the general manager of the first division German football club Werder Bremen for 18 years.
“These efforts exemplify the important role sport can play in the achievement of the MDGs,” he added, commending FIFA’s “Football for Hope” initiative seeking to further development targets.
The FIFA head stressed that the upcoming World Cup in South Africa “represents a great opportunity and a major responsibility to provide the country as well as the whole African continent with the means to progress and develop.”
Next month, Mr. Lemke, appointed to his current position on 18 March, is slated to attend the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) International Youth Crime Prevention and Cities Summit in Durban, and will also meet with the local organizing committee of the World Cup in the South African city.
Also today in Zurich, he held talks with Johann Koss, four-time Olympic gold medal winning speed skater, who serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and runs the non-governmental organization Right to Play (RTP).