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Unity Cup invites children and youth to 'cry foul' on drug abuse

19 July 2007 – The Football Association of the Maldives, the National Narcotics Control Bureau, and UNICEF invite children and youth to ‘cry foul’ on drug abuse and “Kick it Clean” at the Unity Cup Children’s Football Festival in Male’ and Addu from 28 July-13 August, 2007.

460 children between the ages of 9-13 will compete for the Unity Cup trophy, which was donated by AC Milan star and UNICEF Ambassador Paolo Maldini. 21 teams from 9 islands (Male’, Fua Mulah, Addu, HulhuMale’, Maafushi, Viligili, Guraidhoo, Gulhi and Huraa) will participate in the tournament. The tournament will be played in 2 rounds, with the first round from 28 July-4 August in Male’ and Addu; and the finals from 9-13 August in Male’.

The Festival is unique, not only because it is the largest children’s football festival in the history of the Maldives, but also because it is the first time that drug abuse will be challenged head-on during the tournament itself.

Drug use in the Maldives is increasing at alarming rates, and children are experimenting with drugs at younger ages. The Festival aims to educate children and their parents about preventing drug abuse from an early age, as well as showing children that there are more positive and fun things to do than drugs – like playing football.

Children, youth and their parents will have the chance to learn about drug abuse prevention during the festival, through comic books with drug abuse prevention messages and a Dhiraagu SMS contest. Specialists in drug abuse prevention and recovery will also be available throughout the event to answer questions.

The opening ceremony (Zone 8 Stadium/Hithadhoo, Addu, 28 July at 4 p.m.) and closing ceremony (at the National Stadium in Male’, 13 August at 8:15 p.m.) will especially focus on drug abuse prevention messaging. “Zero Degree Atoll” will perform after the final game in Male’, on 13 August.



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