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United Kingdom

On tour to raise AIDS awareness, Manchester United players meet Nelson Mandela

© Manchester United/2006/Peters
Football players from UNICEF partner Manchester United meet with former South African President Nelson Mandela during their trip to South Africa.

LONDON, England, 20 July 2006 – Manchester United team manager and UNICEF UK Ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson and his squad met with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the offices of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg yesterday.

Sir Alex presented Mr. Mandela, who turned 88 on Wednesday, with a birthday gift – a Manchester United jersey bearing his name and the number ‘88’.

The visiting players wore blue and red pin badges as a symbol of their support for the UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign, for which the team has pledged to raise £1 million over four years.

HIV/AIDS impact on children

Earlier in the week, Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took players Darren Fletcher, Kieran Richardson, Jonathan Evans, Luke Steel and Ben Foster to meet children in a hospital in the Western Cape. Their aim: to learn about the impact of HIV/AIDS and violence on the lives of South African children.

© Manchester United/2006/Peters
Team Manager and UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson presenting Nelson Mandela with a Manchester United jersey.

The team’s players, including the captain of the squad now on tour in South Africa, Ryan Giggs, will continue to take time to visit UNICEF-supported projects focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention.

Last week, South Africa launched its national UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign, part of the global effort launched in October 2005 in New York. The current visit by Manchester United reinforces the campaign’s themes and supports UNICEF’s work for children affected by the pandemic.

Long-running partnership

Manchester United has been working with UNICEF since 1999 through the United for UNICEF partnership. The club has raised over £2 million for UNICEF programmes benefiting some 1.5 million children worldwide.

During the team's 2005 Asia Tour, Manchester United announced a four-year extension of the partnership, making it one of the longest-running collaborations between a football club and a global charity on record.

In addition to funding UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS programmes, Manchester United plans to promote the campaign extensively at matches and in media publicity over the coming seasons. Players will record television, video and radio messages to reach millions of young people around the world with important messages about HIV/AIDS and young people.



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