Manchester United and FC Barcelona join forces for UNICEF and the fight against AIDS
BARCELONA, Spain, 23 April 2008 – They are fierce competitors on the football pitch, playing in front of millions of fans and television viewers. But just before the match that took place at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, both Manchester United and Football Club Barcelona put aside their rivalries to join UNICEF and the Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS campaign.
Their goal is twofold: to win the next leg of the UEFA Champions League and to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS. Both club presidents and players from these two premier football clubs are calling on the world to take action against HIV and AIDS.
“We are committed to our support of UNICEF and its children and AIDS campaign,” said Mr. Laporta. “We are calling on football supporters worldwide and the football community to recognise that urgent action is needed to help halt the devastating impact of HIV on children everywhere.”
The impact is 'shattering'
At the training session ahead of the match, both the UNICEF Spain National Ambassador from FC Barcelona, Samuel Eto'o, and Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand held up shirts showing the staggering figure of 2.1 million, which is the number of children under 15 who are currently living with HIV.
Young people now account for an increasing number of new HIV infections. In the 90 minutes it will take for Manchester United to play FC Barcelona, approximately 50 children will die as a result of AIDS.
A long-running collaboration
In 1999, Manchester United became the first British football club to take the initiative in developing an active partnership between UNICEF and the world of football – ‘United for UNICEF’.
The partnership, the longest-running collaboration between a Premier League football club and a global charity, has raised more than $3.9 million to date, helping over 1.5 million children across the globe, including young people affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa, Asia, China and India. Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the partnership.
Along with the funding, the FC Barcelona is featuring the UNICEF logo on its jersey, the first placement of its kind in the club's 107-year history.
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