At a press conference today in Busan, Korea, three days prior to the Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup Korea /Japan™, UNICEF and FIFA announced a global alliance for children. FIFA will dedicate the 2002 World Cup to children under the banner of "Say Yes for Children." This is the first time a World Cup has ever been dedicated to a humanitarian cause.

The alliance will call for:
Changing the world with children. A major focus of this alliance will be to put children at the forefront of people's minds and get people involved in changing the world with children. These key messages will be promoted in various ways:

  • Say Yes for Children: The partnership will publicise the Say Yes for Children campaign, which urges people everywhere to pledge their commitment to 10 imperatives needed to improve and protect children's lives, and to vote for the top three imperatives that they think are most important. To date, over 44 million pledges have been collected worldwide via the Web and paper ballots. The campaign was launched in April and is spearheaded by a partnership of children's rights organisations seeking to build a Global Movement for Children (GMC).
  • Football making a difference for children: Young people will be featured during 2002 World Cup events and festivities. At every game, children will lead the players on to the field wearing FIFA/UNICEF "Say Yes" t-shirts.

In addition, a series of TV spots are being planned with top footballers expressing their support for Say Yes and urging fans to get involved.

FIFA considers football a valuable educational tool for youth since football combines elements such as discipline, respect, and fighting in a positive sense. With football you learn how to win and how to loose, as is sometimes the case in everyday life. In conflict situations, children are robbed of their childhoods. Football is one of the many ways that children can recover a sense of normality, they can be children again. In recent years UNICEF has used football games to help rehabilitate former child soldiers in Sudan, to spread educational messages about HIV/AIDS in Kenya, and to provide children in various refugee camps with an opportunity to have fun.

"I am very much looking forward to working with UNICEF," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "It is FIFA's obligation as a global sports organisation to help children all over the world, because football offers fun and hope based on tolerance, respect and fair play."

"We are very excited about this partnership with FIFA," said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "It is not the first time that UNICEF and football have joined forces. The game has been helping us to "Kick Polio out of Africa," and several of our Goodwill Ambassadors are current or former football stars who are working tirelessly to build a world fit for children."

For further information, b-roll materials or interview requests, please contact:
Samantha Henry, UNICEF New York, tel: +1 212 326 7259, e-mail: shenry@unicef.org
Markus Siegler, FIFA Communication, tel: +41 1 384 95 95, mobile: +41 79 322 03 23, e-mail: markus.siegler@fifa.org

Note to Broadcasters: Please see UNICEF's "Children and Football" video b-roll. To order a copy of the 12-minutes tape or to read the script and shortlist, please visit www.unicef.org/broadcast/brolls/ .