The pledge ceremony was held between the two semi-final soccer games of the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup™ at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
Leaders from both organizations underscored the importance of sport and play in children's lives, especially in the developing world, as they committed to joining forces to harness the power of football on behalf of children in the region.
“UNICEF believes that sports and play must be part and parcel of every child’s life, girl and boy, advantaged and disadvantaged, talented and instinctive,” said Andres Franco, UNICEF Representative. “Play comes naturally to children, and is a powerful force to ensure that children, especially children in the developing world, realize their right to play.”
CONCACAF President, Jack Warner, reinforced this message adding, “As the most popular sport in the world, football has the potential to be a tremendous power for good, especially for young people. Through this relationship we will explore ways to harness the power of football to have a positive impact on the lives of children across this region.”
The snapshot of the situation of children in the Latin America and Caribbean region shows that there are a number of challenges, especially regarding HIV/AIDS and violence.
UNICEF works with a broad range of sporting partners including with FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and the Asian Cricket Council, to build a world fit for children through sport.
The final will be held this Sunday, when young soccer players - in t-shirts with the organizations’ logos emblazoned on them - will lead finalists onto the field. Most of the children are participants in the New York Scores soccer programme, which introduces soccer to children in New York City.
“Play and sports give children an important basis for the future,” said Franco. “And when children learn fair play, team spirit and radiate good health, ultimately society benefits.”
For further information, please contact:
Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, +212 326 7452, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNICEF and CONCACAF join forces to help children - video