The southern Mexican state of Tabasco is still in a state of shock after the terrible damage caused by flooding in late October. One of the heaviest rainfalls in recent times caused the region's rivers to burst their banks, and the ensuing damage affected more than one million people and made headline news around the world.
In this context, the Mexican sports channel Televisa Deportes devoted the most recent edition of their La Jugada football show to raising funds for flood victims with a charity auction. The network received two signed footballs from FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, and the items, one autographed by the President himself and another by a host of footballing greats, went under the hammer for one million Mexican pesos (approximately 90,000 US dollars). In total, the event raised some five million pesos (roughly 450,000 dollars) for victims of the tragedy in Tabasco.
The special edition of La Jugada, which was broadcast at prime time last Sunday night, also featured a phone call from President Blatter, who said that football can bring hope even in the most difficult times.
"On behalf of FIFA and the world football family, I'd like to express my solidarity with those who suffered injury or loss during the natural disaster in the state of Tabasco. In difficult moments like these, sport in general and football in particular can provide a beacon of hope," the President said.
"As you know, I have very close ties with and a deep affection for Mexico, which has twice hosted the FIFA World Cup ™. That's why I want to offer a small symbol of the union that exists between football and the Mexican people: two official FIFA World Cup match balls signed not only by the FIFA President, but also by stars like Platini, Beckenbauer, Pele, Bobby Charlton and, of course, Hugo Sanchez. These footballs will be available to the auction in aid of those affected in Tabasco."
The auction also featured items donated from a host of other national and international sporting stars and raised some five million pesos (around 450,000 US dollars) - a clear demonstration of what football and sport in general is capable of. As President Blatter said himself in signing off: "Football stirs emotions and is capable of bringing together all human beings. Let's use it to help the victims find strength and spirit again. United, we can help each other!"