FIFA declares unconditional support for UNITAID
FIFA is pleased to announce that football's world governing body will support the humanitarian project, UNITAID, starting with the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup. FIFA's Vice-President and CAF President Issa Hayatou and 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah will represent FIFA at the project's presentation at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 2 June 2006 to underline FIFA's support for fundamental human rights. During the forthcoming FIFA World Cup, FIFA will help raise awareness for UNITAID, a project aimed at granting people access to vital medical treatment. Two UNITAID branded official match balls will be exchanged before the kick-off of each of the 64 matches in a symbolic gesture by the two team captains.
UNITAID is about establishing an investment fund to facilitate the purchase of medication for developing countries through a compulsory international solidarity tax contribution on airline tickets for an international drug purchase facility. Although France, Brazil, Norway and Chile were the nations that originally established this project, UNITAID now comes under the remit of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNAIDS with the support of around 40 countries. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton no less are among the patrons of this special humanitarian project.
"We are aware of the power of our flagship event, the FIFA World Cup, and the impact it has on contributing to special campaigns and helping to raise funds for these solidarity activities. With more than 30 billion people watching on all six continents, it is a great platform for joining in this alliance with UNITAID to help in the fight against three major life-threatening diseases HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. FIFA is proud to support UNITAID in its objectives," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
FIFA is fully aware of its social responsibility and the role that football can play in terms of human development. Football's world governing body has on many occasions pledged support for global organisations such as the SOS Children's Villages, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the International Labour Organization. Under the umbrella of the Football for Hope movement, FIFA was one of the first international sports federation to create its own social corporate responsibility department in 2005 to channel the power of football to fight social injustice on a global basis.