An online auction of a book featuring the autographs of all 736 players and coaches from this summer's tournament has raised Euro 61,500 for the official 2006 FIFA World Cup charity "6 villages for 2006".
The joint initiative by SOS Children's Villages and FIFA has gathered a total of Euro 20 million, enabling six new villages to be built and run over many years to come and providing homes for more than 800 children in need.
The autographs were collected by the Organising Committee immediately after the arrival of the 32 teams, with all the players and coaches having been more than happy to sign the book. "I am delighted that we were able to play our part. The new owner of the autograph book will have a unique memento of Germany 2006," said Wolfgang Niersbach, vice-president of the Organising Committee. The auction was won by a football fan from Cologne.
Georg Willeit, Director of SOS Children's Villages worldwide, thanked the players, bidders and the Organising Committee: "This is the perfect end to an unforgettable festival of football this summer. I would like to thank everyone involved on behalf of the children who will benefit from the money raised."
New villages will be constructed in Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and the Ukraine. The first families have already moved into the new SOS Children's Village in Dong Hoi (Vietnam).