Professional football against hunger

 

The European Professional Football Leagues and FAO today launched a campaign to raise funds and awareness about the increasingly critical problem of world hunger.

The campaign, known as Professional Football Against Hunger, was launched at FAO headquarters in the presence of Italian former football star and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Roberto Baggio
together with other famous names in European football. The ceremony was attended by Ministers of Sport from Austria, Italy, Spain and representatives from seven Members of the European
Professional Football Leagues (EPFL).

The campaign, which represents an important milestone in the involvement of professional football in the global fight against hunger and poverty, will include the twenty-eight Member
Leagues and Associate Members of EPFL, representing more than 960 professional football clubs across Europe.

«The proceeds from the campaign will be used to finance micro-projects in developing countries. Currently some 2 600 such projects are underway in 130 countries», said FAO
Director-General Jacques Diouf at the launching ceremony.

«The EPFL is proud of joining FAO at the forefront of the fight against hunger and malnutrition worldwide. We are committed to use the power of professional football and the
influence of our 28 member leagues to eradicate this scourge – a problem that doesn’t affect only the world’s poorest nations. This is our moral obligation, our indeclinable duty, as
access to food is a fundamental human right, and cannot be denied to any individual» said EPFL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros at the launching ceremony.

During the ceremony the EPFL announced that as part of the Europe-wide campaign a football weekend against hunger would take place on 20-22 March 2009 to raise awareness and funds in
the struggle against hunger. The weekend will involve all league members and associate members. In January 2009, league representatives, including well-known football players will also
visit countries in which FAO field projects are located.

Also attending the ceremony were former Italian football world champion Dino Zoff, former Portuguese team captain Fernando Couto and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Justine Pasek, Ms Universe
2002, of Panama.

With the number of the world’s undernourished now at over 920 million people – just under one-sixth of the world’s population – increasing understanding among youth and
European society may help to bring pressure to bear on governments to end hunger, also known as the silent killer.

The leagues represented were the: Lega Nazionale Professionisti and Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico (Italy), Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (Spain), DFL Deutsche
Fußball Liga GmbH (Germany), Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Professional (Portugal), Union of 1.SNL (Slovenia) and the Football League (United Kingdom).

 

Professional football against hunger

Lisbon/Rome – The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Association of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) today signed in Lisbon (Portugal) a cooperation
agreement to promote a series of initiatives aimed at sensitizing the public on issues related to food security and the fight against hunger.

The agreement was signed by Dr. Jacques Diouf, FAO Director-General, Sir David Richards, EPFL’s President and Chairman of the Premier League.

Laurentino Dias, Portugal’s Youth and Sport Secretary, Hermino Loureiro, Portugese League President, Paolo Sousa, former player for Juventus, Inter and Portugal’s national team and several
football stars and officials present at the ceremony, expressed full support for the initiative.

The two Organisations believe that the power of football is a key tool in development and in advocating for the fight against hunger and towards the achievement of the first Millennium
Development Goal (MDGs): to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and poverty in the world by 2015.

Under the terms of the agreement, the EPFL, an association constituted by 27 members and associated members Leagues, comprising more than 900 football clubs across Europe, will promote,
together with FAO, a series of initiatives related to the fight against hunger.

World Food Day and TeleFood
Top football players already helping FAO in its fight against hunger include former star of Juventus and Inter, Italy’s Roberto Baggio and Spain’s Raúl Gonzalez, Captain of Real Madrid,
Both are FAO Goodwill Ambassadors for FAO.

Last month, under a similar agreement signed between FAO and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the latter will support solidarity campaigns mounted by FAO, including a number of
initiatives such as national or regional Food Security Programmes, TeleFood projects and cultural and sporting events held to promote development of agriculture, nutrition and the environment.

These initiatives, in the framework of World Food Day and TeleFood activities, will draw attention to the plight of more than 850 million people suffering from hunger in the world and will
raise funds to support FAO micro-projects designed to help families and poor communities to produce their own food.

An example, among the more than 2500 small scale existing projects in 130 countries, are school gardens where students learn how to grow their own crops and breed livestock, and also benefit
from meals at school, prepared with the food they produce.

With this strategy, the two organisations hope that football will become a tool for advocacy with the ultimate goal of improving living conditions for the world’s poorest people and a means to
mobilize resources in the fight against global hunger.

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