Professional football against hunger
The power of football, a key tool for advocacy
14 April 2008, Lisbon/Rome - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Association of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) today signed in Lisbon (Portugal) a cooperation agreement to promote a series of initiatives aimed at sensitizing the public on issues related to food security and the fight against hunger.
The agreement was signed by Dr. Jacques Diouf, FAO Director-General, Sir David Richards and Emmanuel Macedo de Medeiros, respectively EPFL's Chairman and CEO.
Dr. Diouf said that the EPFL-FAO partnership will "inform and sensitize public opinion about the devastating problem of hunger that still affects 862 million people."
Sir David Richards noted: "Using the popularity of professional football in Europe, the EPFL can help raise awareness of food and poverty related issues that affect so many people throughout the world”.
The EPFL CEO, Emmanuel Macedo de Medeiros, assured that the European professional soccer leagues are proud to cooperate with FAO: "We have 862 million reasons to correspond to FAO’s invitation for partnership."
Laurentino Dias, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Youth and Sport, Hermino Loureiro, president of the Portuguese League and several football high personalities and officials present at the ceremony expressed full support for the initiative.
The two Organisations believe that the power of football is a key tool in development and in advocating for the fight against hunger and towards the achievement of the first Millennium Development Goal (MDGs): to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and poverty in the world by 2015.
Under the terms of the agreement, the EPFL, an association constituted by 27 members and associated members Leagues, comprising more than 900 football clubs across Europe, will promote, together with FAO, a series of initiatives related to the fight against hunger.
World Food Day and TeleFood
Top football players already helping FAO in its fight against hunger include former star of Juventus and Inter, Italy’s Roberto Baggio and Spain’s Raúl Gonzalez, Captain of Real Madrid. Both are FAO Goodwill Ambassadors for FAO.
Last month, under a similar agreement signed between FAO and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the latter will support solidarity campaigns mounted by FAO, including a number of initiatives such as national or regional Food Security Programmes, TeleFood projects and cultural and sporting events held to promote development of agriculture, nutrition and the environment.
These initiatives, in the framework of World Food Day and TeleFood activities, will draw attention to the plight of 860 million people suffering from hunger in the world and will raise funds to support FAO micro-projects designed to help families and poor communities to produce their own food.
With this strategy, the two organisations hope that football will become a tool for advocacy with the ultimate goal of improving living conditions for the world’s poorest people and a means to mobilize resources in the fight against global hunger.
Media Relations, FAO
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