The 11th annual United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Match Against Poverty concluded on March 5 as soccer stars joined together to fight global poverty. With international income inequality at extremely high levels, the United Nations has enlisted the help of famous soccer players and the world’s most popular sport to garner increased attention to combating poverty.
UN Goodwill Ambassadors Zinédine Zidane and Ronaldo are some of the famous players playing in the charity match against local Swiss team Young Boys Bern in Bern, Switzerland. Other players included Czech Pavel Nedved and the Portuguese Luis Figo. The squad of retired players beat the Young Boys 8-6, with two goals scored by Zidane.
The charity match is expected to raise up to $250,000 through the sale of tickets and broadcasting rights for the game, and two-thirds of the funds taken in will go towards rebuilding the Philippines after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit in November 2013 and toward reducing poverty in Brazil.
Proceeds will be allocated towards the UN’s short-term work program, designed to provide enough money to cover basic necessities in the Philippines. The 2012 Match Against Poverty was held in Porto Alegre, Brazil and raised $360,000 to support UNDP projects in the country. The first Match Against Poverty, held in 2003, took place in Basel, Switzerland and raised approximately $1 million.
Soccer continues to be the most popular sport around the world, partly due to its incredible accessibility. Some kids from poor countries simply use paper and string to make a soccer ball while others use balled-up grocery bags. Soccer is capable of joining people together and making people excited about a topic that seems foreign to people living in developed countries. Increased partnerships between the public and private sectors, along with increased partnerships between the public and private sectors with civil society will continue to be the key in reducing global poverty.
– Jeff Meyer