Proceeds from the annual United Nations all-star charity football game, led by legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane and which will be held next March in Switzerland, will benefit recovery efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the world body has announced.
Ronaldo and Zidane – who are Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) –will mobilize their team of internationally renowned football players for a friendly game against the Bern professional football club, the BSC Young Boys and Friends, for the 11th Match Against Poverty, slated for 4 March.
“Through the 11th edition in Bern we hope to be able to raise both awareness and funds for the people in need in the Philippines,” said Zidane. “Working together in support of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, we will all be winners in the Match Against Poverty.”
Two thirds of the match proceeds will be used to bolster recovery efforts in the Philippines, where more than 5,000 people lost their lives to Typhoon Haiyan, with almost 1 million people displaced and an estimated further 11.8 million affected, UNDP said in a news release.
To bolster the local economy, UNDP has already begun a cash-for-work project clearing debris in Tacloban, the worst affected area, and will continue its efforts to help those who have lost homes, businesses and jobs as a result of the typhoon.
“Our goal is to dedicate the proceeds of this 11th Match Against Poverty to help survivors rebuild their lives and help the Philippines on a path to recovery,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “As the Philippines works to recover from this terrible tragedy, UNDP is there in support and to help strengthen the nation’s resilience to future shocks.”
Zidane and Ronaldo have been the driving force behind the match since its inception in 2003. Proceeds from previous matches have benefited projects in dozens of developing countries, including recovery efforts in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the response to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
“Last year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Match in Brazil and I am still very proud of its success. I am honoured that clubs such as BSC Young Boys have offered to host the event,” said Ronaldo, who is now a key member of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Organizing Committee.
“This year we are concerned about the situation in the Philippines and we would like to help through the match to the global fundraising efforts for the country,” he added.
BSC Young Boys will donate the remaining third of the profits to the club’s partner charity, the Laureus Foundation Switzerland. The Foundation provides financial and practical support to sports-related projects at the national level, and is part of the global Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, which supports over 140 projects in 34 countries around the world.
Previous editions of the Match Against Poverty –which will be televised globally and is supported by both football’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) – have been held in Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Malaga, Fes, Lisbon, Athens, Hamburg, and Porto Alegre.
Ronaldo and Zidane are part of a distinguished group of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors that includes fellow football stars Didier Drogba, Iker Casillas and Marta Vieira de Silva in addition to other world-renowned personalities.