Building a World Fit for ChildrenMADRID, 25 February 2004.- Ms. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund; Mr. Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid President and Francisco González-Bueno, UNICEF-Spain President launched today a new partnership between Real Madrid FC and UNICEF Spain to work for children's rights.
Real Madrid and the Spanish Committee for UNICEF have already worked together in Spain on fundraising activities and education for development programmes. Vowing to strengthen their commitment through this formal alliance, both Real Madrid and UNICEF will contribute to the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals, which are fundamental to achieve a world fit for children.
In partnership with UNICEF Spain, Real Madrid FC will work to improve the lives of children by harnessing the power of football and the global influence of the team and drawing attention to children's issues. Coupling the most renowned football club in the world and the world's largest organization working for children will mean a powerful team striving to improve the well-being of children.
"We are looking forward to working with UNICEF on issues of vital importance to children, as this is an area we have worked in for several years," said Mr. Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid President. "We take great pride in being associated with the good work that UNICEF is doing in favour of children, who are particularly vulnerable and in need of protection."
UNICEF works with governments, civil society, institutions and people from the world of arts, culture and sports.
"UNICEF is proud of this partnership and looking forward to working together with Real Madrid and UNICEF Spain," said Carol Bellamy. "Together we will use the power of sports to make a difference for children and young people around the world."
Role of sport
Sport is an effective tool for psychosocial recovery of those children victims of violence, abuses and exploitation, it provides a forum to learn skills such as discipline, confidence and leadership and it teaches core principles such as tolerance, cooperation and respect. Besides, the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children should enjoy the basic right to play, regardless of gender, ability or ethnicity.
Football has a very important role in many UNICEF's programmes around the world. During the armed conflicts in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Georgia or Sudan, the practice of football addressed the trauma of conflict and the distress resulting from displacement.
Elsewhere, education programmes in Kenya, Liberia and Honduras use football to support HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns. In Brazil, UNICEF supports a detention centre for young people in trouble with the law. After academic classes, they play football, learn judo and practise gymnastics, helping them to channel frustrations and learn new ways to deal with anger.
In a world where many children suffer through armed conflict, poverty, displacement and the threat of HIV/AIDS, childhood itself can be difficult to preserve. But even in the direst circumstances, children will play - and they will play everywhere, from football fields to refugee camps.
Football is a universal language for millions of children across the world. Football is more than "just a game", it is a positive lifestyle. It teaches children to trust each other, lures them away from drugs and violence and provides them with a protective environment - where they can grow up healthy, fit and self-confident.
For more information, please contact:
UNICEF-Spanish National Committee
Tel. + 34 91 378 95 58 - + 34 679 95 7578