|© Jamie McDonald/Getty Images for Laureus|
|Actor Morgan Freeman listens as Joan Laporta, President of FC Barcelona accepts the Laureus Spirit Of Sport Award during the Laureus Sports Awards in Barcelona, Spain.|
By Joana Pérez Martorell
BARCELONA, Spain, 3 April 2007 – Sports stars and legends took centre stage last night at the Laureus Sports Awards held in Barcelona. Among the honourees was the president of football club FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, who was presented with the Spirit of Sport Award in recognition of the partnership with UNICEF to benefit children across the developing world affected by HIV/AIDS.
The partnership between FC Barcelona and UNICEF was launched in September of 2006 with a commitment of $1.9 million dollars per year over five years to fund UNICEF programs.
“This award represents world recognition to a pioneer decision in the world of football,” said Mr. Laporta. “It is very important to tell the world that through football one can change the world.”
|© UNICEF Spain/2007/Pérez|
|(From left): Executive Director of the Spanish Fund for UNICEF, Jaime Gomez-Pineda, President of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, and the Adviser of International Relations of the Spanish Fund for UNICEF, Victor Soler-Sala|
How sports can help
Every year, the Laureus World Sports Awards honours the globe’s best sportsmen and sportswomen and celebrates the universal power of using sports as a tool for social change. The Spirit of Sport Award acknowledges those in sports who take action to create a better world.
FC Barcelona’s innovative decision to raise awareness about the values of UNICEF was honoured as a perfect example of how sports can help the most vulnerable children.
The football club’s funding has provided critical support to UNICEF programs in Swaziland in the areas of providing treatment for paediatric AIDS, care and support for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and HIV infection among adolescents.
“We are delighted with the acknowledgment that this prestigious organization grants FC Barcelona and we share with them the success,” said Executive Director of Spanish Fund for UNICEF, Mr. Jaime Gómez-Pineda.
Along with the funding, the legendary sports club featured the UNICEF logo on its 2006-2007 jersey, the first placement of its kind in the club’s 107-year history.
During the award ceremony, guest speaker and Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman commended all that FC Barcelona had done to reach to the very heart of their slogan “more than a club” with the UNICEF alliance.
“By taking the spirit of sport that makes children dream, this incredible sport partnership is opening the door of hope to hundreds of thousands of children,” said Mr. Freeman.
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