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UNICEF Corporate and Philanthropic Partnerships

FC Barcelona

UNICEF have partnered with global football legend Football Club Barcelona since 2006 when FC Barcelona first featured the UNICEF logo on its team jersey – the only time in the club’s 110-year history and an unprecedented gesture in the world of football.

© UNICEF/UNI146555/N
FC Barcelona player and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lionel ‘Leo’ Messi stands with children who have intellectual disabilities, in Bangkok. The children are among 20 with whom he and FC Barcelona player José Manuel Pinto have shared football skills.

The Power of Sport

The team wear the UNICEF logo, not because any fee has been paid, but because the club stands shoulder to shoulder with UNICEF in our commitment to the world’s children. 

The partnership has so far brought in € 19 million in revenue for UNICEF programmes that improve lives for children worldwide. In 2016, UNICEF deepened the partnership with FC Barcelona explore more options for using the power of sport to deliver sustainable and large-scale results for children.

“FC Barcelona has a strong focus on children and young people, not only through our millions of fans and those who love the game, but also through the FC Barcelona Foundation which works for the welfare of children, especially the most vulnerable,” said Maria Valles, Director General of FC Barcelona Foundation. 

“FC Barcelona Foundation works to improve child welfare through sport and UNICEF is the reference point for us when it comes to children’s welfare issues. For me, ours is a natural alliance as we share many of the same goals and targets and by working together we can achieve a much greater impact,” added Ms Valles.

`Més que un club´ or `More Than a Club´

FC Barcelona’s team motto is `Més que un club´ or `More Than a Club´ and the club has long made it a priority to support social development projects not only in its home base of Catalonia, but globally with UNICEF. 

This commitment to UNICEF extends to individual players. FC Barcelona player Lionel Messi is widely regarded as the greatest footballer alive and for many years he has supported UNICEF as an advocate for vulnerable children. Named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009 and winner of five Ballon D’Or awards for the best European footballer of the year, Mr. Messi was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in March 2010. 

Since then, he has been a strong advocate for some of the world’s most vulnerable children and has visited Argentina, Costa Rica and Haiti to help raise awareness and support for the work of UNICEF and its partners.

© FCBarcelona

Sport and development

UNICEF is working with FC Barcelona to further understand the value of sport in childhood development. While UNICEF has long recognized that sport can have benefits for children and play is a right for every child under the Convention on the Rights for the Child, there remains a dearth of evidence to support funding in this area.

To plug this gap, UNICEF and the Barca Foundation, the philanthropic arm of FC Barcelona, are building an evidence-base in advocacy, practice and policy for sport for development (S4D), through funding a research being carried out by UNICEF’s Office of Research, Innocenti. The goal is to unlock the largely untapped potential of sport to promote child protection, social inclusion, support learning and ultimately harness the power of sport to transform children’s lives.

Currently, FC Barcelona funding is being put into action in 16,000 schools in developing countries. The schools, in Brazil, China, Ghana and South Africa, receive financial aid, sports training and equipment to help teachers use sports as a tool to achieve learning outcomes. The partnership has to date provided more than 1.5 million children with access to quality education, sport, play as well as programmes that helped protect children from HIV/AIDS. 

Previously, funds from FC Barcelona have improved children’s lives in Swaziland, the country estimated to have the highest estimated adult HIV prevalence rate in the world. Education and sports programmes provide better protection, care and support for orphans and vulnerable children. Those same programs and other outreach efforts raised public awareness to limit the spread of AIDS. Children and their mothers receive access to life-saving drugs to prevent transmission of HIV and dangerous opportunistic infections of the virus, including access to life-prolonging antiretroviral treatment.  

In April 2007 FC Barcelona's then-President, Joan Laporta, was presented with the Spirit of Sport Award in recognition of the partnership with UNICEF. Every year, the Laureus World Sports Awards honors the globe’s best sportsmen and sportswomen and celebrates the universal power of using sport as a tool for social change. The Spirit of Sport Award acknowledges those in sports who act to create a better world.


© UNICEF/UNI98942/Zungu
Child’s View – Boys play football at Juluka ‘stadium’, an informal playground in Estcourt, a town in KwaZulu-Natal Province. The photograph was taken by Happy Zungu, 11, one of 20 participants in a UNICEF-organized child photography workshop. “Football is not only for boys!” said Happy.

About FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona is a more than century-old, privately owned entity operating and promoting the professional Football Club of Barcelona. The club is one of the most beloved and accomplished teams in professional soccer in Spain and internationally. Some 300 million fans follow FC Barcelona’s exploits, many of them children themselves. The Spanish club has earned scores of major national and international titles. FC Barcelona’s philanthropic history includes its foundation, Fundació FC Barcelona, which is committed to social, cultural, educational and humanitarian activities in Catalonia, and has expanded internationally during the last few years. Learn more about FC Barcelona.

© UNICEF/UN03231/Ose
A boy cheers on his team, FC Barcelona.



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