We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

2006 FIFA World Cup

Children are the real World Cup winners

© UNICEF/2006
A member of Team UNICEF photographed on 5 July at the 2006 FIFA World Cup arena in Munich, Germany. Some 4,000 football fans signed the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE pledge and had their photos taken in webcam booths at the stadiums in Munich, Berlin and Cologne.

By Dan Thomas

NEW YORK, USA, 10 July 2006 – Children around the world joined Italy in celebrating victory at the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Sunday.

Under the banner of the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE FOR PEACE campaign, UNICEF and FIFA harnessed the power of the world’s greatest football tournament to highlight sport’s ability to promote peace.

“FIFA selected UNICEF to be the official goodwill cause of the 2006 FIFA World Cup based on the longstanding alliance of our two organizations and our common goals of fighting for the rights of children,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. “FIFA is pleased to be working with UNICEF to carry the message that sport – and particularly football – is a peace-building exercise and the core of childhood, and one that can contribute to making the world a better place.”

© UNICEF/2006
Webcam photo of a Team UNICEF member taken on 30 June at the stadium in Berlin.
At a joint news conference with Mr. Blatter on 28 June, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman added: “The simple game of football, celebrated in the World Cup, can break down barriers and bring people together. Both FIFA and UNICEF know that sport and development go hand-in-hand.”

Team UNICEF online

A special 2006 FIFA World Cup website created by UNICEF in Arabic, English, French and Spanish invites fans to join Team UNICEF – a virtual team of UNICEF supporters around the world captained by England star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham and featuring 14 other World Cup players.

All the players appear in a series of video spots produced by MTV for UNICEF and FIFA that are still being broadcast around the world. The spots, which can also be seen online along with a behind-the-scenes video, end by asking viewers to UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE FOR PEACE.

© UNICEF/2006
Another Team UNICEF member captured on film at the Cologne arena on 20 June.
The special website also features avatars who greet visitors in their own language, an interactive ‘Freekick Football’ game and 11 multimedia profiles of girls and boys around the world for whom the game offers a refuge from violence and conflict.

One of the profiles features Ivna Chérie, 11, who sees football as an escape from gang violence in her native Haiti. “Football makes me feel better,” she told UNICEF. “It helps me not to think about the bad things that are happening out there in the world.”

Falah Ali, 17, a high school student from Basra, southern Iraq, added that football gives children there an important escape from the violence that continues to spoil their everyday life. “Even in the middle of the current upheaval sweeping my country, I find great joy in playing football,” he said.

© UNICEF/2006
A young fan photographed in Berlin on 30 June in front of a poster of German football star and fellow Team UNICEF member Christoph Metzelder.

Making the pledge

During the FIFA World Cup tournament, thousands of football fans in Germany were encouraged to visit special UNICEF information booths at the stadiums in Berlin, Munich and Cologne to sign up for Team UNICEF and have their photographs published on the site’s World Cup webcam pages. In the end, some 4,000 fans had their photos snapped.

To join Team UNICEF, visitors at the webcam booths and online were asked to sign the following pledge: “By joining Team UNICEF, I pledge to do everything in my power to ensure that all children grow up in a world at peace.”

Through their ongoing partnership, UNICEF and FIFA will continue to garner support for that pledge and spread the message of peace and unity through football until the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa – and beyond.



Video PSAs

Check out 2006 FIFA World Cup stars in this ‘Superfans’ PSA.
 VIDEO high | low

UNICEF goes behind the scenes of an MTV shoot for the ‘Superfans’ PSA.
 VIDEO high | low

‘The Spirit of Team UNICEF’ – a short video introducing some of the players on Team UNICEF.
 VIDEO high | low

New enhanced search