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Man U gives thumbs up for 3R-UNICEF futsal playoffs for girls

© Red Communications

KUALA LUMPUR, 5 November 2007 – Manchester United FC, one of the world’s most popular football clubs, has given the thumbs up to the girls program under the 3R-UNICEF All Women’s Futsal Playoffs 2007, organised in conjunction with World AIDS Day and in support of UNICEF’s global campaign “Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS".

“Manchester United is delighted to support UNICEF’s vital work with young Malaysians. By doing so we hope to encourage more girls to get involved in sport, to keep healthy, to learn the facts about HIV and AIDS, and to protect themselves,” said Manchester United FC Director of Communications, Phil Townsend.

Through its partnership with UNICEF, ‘United for UNICEF’, Manchester United will support the playoffs’ school category for girls 18 years and below as well as HIV and AIDS education workshops in various secondary girls’ schools in Johor, Penang and Kuala Lumpur between November 2007 and January 2008.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Manchester United is lending us their support for the playoffs. It definitely sends a strong message that girls and young women be given the same encouragement as boys to play sports such as futsal,” said Kartini Ariffin, UNICEF Malaysia Goodwill Ambassador and 3R TV host. “Futsal has such incredible power. It helps girls have fun and keep fit while allowing them the space to develop leadership and a sense of who they are.”

Invented in Uruguay in 1930, futsal is a version of football with five players a-side, and is played either indoors or outdoors on a basketball court-sized pitch. Originally developed for youth competitions in YMCAs, the sport quickly caught on and is now governed by FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association. The hugely popular game played in some 120 countries worldwide is also expected to become part of the Olympic family during the 2008 games.

Celebrating girls and women

The 3R-UNICEF All Women’s Futsal Playoffs is organised for the second time by UNICEF and Malaysia’s innovative TV program 3R (Respect, Relax, Respond) for girls and women, and empower them to lead healthy lives through sport. More than 500 girls and women ages 13 to 50 fielded 72 teams for the inaugural event in 2006. 

According to the Ministry of Health’s December 2006 statistics, the proportion of women reported with HIV in Malaysia has increased dramatically in the last decade. In 1995, women and girls made up 4% of new reported infections that year. The number more than tripled by end 2006, with women and girls accounting for one in every seven new reported infections.

UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Advisor for AIDS Ms Wing-Sie Cheng believes that every effort must be made to reach out to girls’ to protect them from HIV.

“Prevention programs must take into consideration the special needs of girls and their vulnerability to HIV. Sport is a platform to change gender norms, and empower girls with knowledge and confidence to make healthy and positive choices about themselves,” added Ms Cheng. 
Life skills through sports

UNICEF’s global experience demonstrates that sport provides a safe and supportive environment for girls in their communities. Not only does sport teach young people important life skills such as communication and negotiation skills, it can also be used as a channel to provide valuable lessons on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.

In Malaysia, UNICEF has been working with AIESEC youth peer educators and the Football Association of Malaysia to deliver HIV and AIDS education every month to teen footballers from the First Touch Football program. HIV and AIDS education at these sessions takes on a new spin through games and role-playing organised outdoors and on football pitches. 

Under the 3R-UNICEF All Women’s Futsal Playoffs 2007, AIESEC’s youth peer educators will join Kartini and her 3R TV co-hosts and UNICEF Malaysia Goodwill Ambassadors, Celina Khor and Rafidah Abdullah to conduct HIV education workshops for around 500 secondary schools girls. The workshops will be carried out in Johor, Penang and Kuala Lumpur and will incorporate various learning concepts to make HIV education fun and interesting.

Calling all girls and women

The highlight of the 3R-UNICEF All Women’s Futsal Playoffs 2007 of course is the futsal tournament which will to reach out to as many women and girls in the country with three independent playoff championships, one each in Johor Bahru, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Each tournament will have both Open and School categories with teams playing against each other for a Championship trophy and a cash prize of RM 1,500 (Open Category) and RM 1,000 (School Category). Prizes will also be awarded for first, second and third runner-ups. The tournament schedule and registration deadline is as follows:

  • Johor Bahru: 17 November 2007 (Registration deadline: 11 November 2007)
  • Penang: 24 November 2007 (Registration deadline: 18 November 2007)
  • Kuala Lumpur: 2 December 2007 (Registration deadline: 25 November 2007)

“We hope as many girls and women will come forward to participate in this year’s tournament – both as players and supporters. HIV and AIDS is such an important cause to us. The futsal playoffs are a great way to have fun, learn and for women and girls to unite against AIDS for children and young people,” affirmed Celina, Kartini and Rafidah.

For more information on how to participate and register, please call Kartini at 019 764 0081.


About United for UNICEF
Manchester United was the first football club to take the initiative in developing an active partnership between UNICEF and the world of football. United for UNICEF was launched in 1999 and is the longest running collaboration between a Premiership football club and a global charity. To date, the club has raised over £2 million helping over 1.5 million children worldwide. Manchester United was one of the first corporate partners to sign up to support UNICEF’s five year global children and AIDS campaign, Unite for Children Unite against AIDS.

For media enquiries please contact: 
Indra Nadchatram: (+6.03) 2095 9157 ♦ 013 366 3452





3R-UNICEF All Women's Futsal Playoffs 2007

United for UNICEF

World AIDS Day 2007

1 December 2007

Unite against AIDS

The Malaysian Launch
  (with )

The AIDS Response


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