Ten lucky young people had more than one reason to cheer today at Soccer City in Johannesburg. Not only were they heading to watch the much anticipated quarter-final between Uruguay and Ghana courtesy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Ticket Fund but they were also invited by FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter to join him before the match to share their experience of participating in one of the social development programmes supported by the initiative.
Five young coaches from Grassroot Soccer, a non-governmental organisation who use football as a tool in the fight against HIV / Aids, were joined by five children from Sporting Chance, an organisation using the power of sport to break down social barriers and positively impact the lives of children. All ten had one thing in common, they each ‘earned’ a ticket for the match through their participation in the respective programmes. The youngsters would otherwise have been unable to attend a match had it not been for the support of the Ticket Fund which was created in line with the philosophy of the FIFA President to use the 2010 FIFA World Cup to give something back to the African continent.
After the meeting, an energised FIFA President commented: "I was extremely touched by these children who have endured so many struggles in their lives and given their very best to earn a ticket to a world cup match through the Ticket Fund. Seeing them so excited just to be in the stadium, seeing them dancing and laughing was amazing - and I have to say from my heart, it deeply moved me. The spirit and attitude of these young people is truly inspirational.”
“Through the Ticket Fund, FIFA, the OC and the six FIFA Partners have been able to help to make the dream of so many young people in South Africa come true by making it possible for them to attend a FIFA World Cup match. I'm particularly pleased that we were able to use the opportunity to attend a football match as an incentive for young people to participate in sustainable social and community programmes across South Africa and thus contribute to the legacy of this FIFA World Cup."
Alice Motloenya from the Kia/Sporting Chance project comes from an underprivileged background in Orange Farm, a small community outside Johannesburg: "I’m grateful to the Ticket Fund for giving the children of South Africa a Sporting Chance. The Ticket Fund project taught me about health, team sports and gave me an opportunity to be proud of my country." Alice especially enjoyed meeting the President: "It was good to meet you and to dance with your guests."
The Ticket Fund is an official initiative of the FIFA World Cup through which 120,000 complimentary category four tickets were allocated to residents of South Africa by FIFA and the Local Organising Committee, with the support of the FIFA Partners. 66,000 tickets were distributed through initiatives supported by the FIFA Partners with a further two tickets going to each of the 27,000 construction workers responsible for building and upgrading the ten FIFA World Cup stadiums (54,000 in total)
The programme is aimed at making 2010 FIFA World Cup matches more accessible to those who do not ordinarily have the means to purchase tickets. Tickets were not given as hand-outs rather as a reward or incentive for those participating in or contributing to selected social and human development activities. All of the programmes were focused on one or more of four core areas – health, education and the environment, with the final area of infrastructure represented by the involvement of the stadium construction workers.