FIFA will dedicate the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship Thailand 2004 to UNICEF’s public advocacy campaign, “Go Girls! Education for Every Child!”, in an effort to raise awareness of this fundamental right of children. For example, in every single match of the competition, the ball girl’s t-shirts and field signage boards will feature UNICEF and the slogan “Girl’s Education”, which will be seen in the over 130 countries around the world that are broadcasting matches from the tournament.
Behind this decision are disturbing statistics showing that, although education is the right of every child – and the obligation of all governments – more than 120 million children around the world are out of school, and most of them are girls.
“FIFA is proud to dedicate this event to UNICEF’s noble campaign for girls’ education,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. “Every child has the right to an education and we have not only the responsibility of helping them have access to it, but also a great opportunity to use football as an integrating, educational tool. By helping girls achieve an education, we are helping the mothers of tomorrow and therefore, our society as a whole.”
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy is convinced of the social power of sport: “UNICEF is deeply grateful for FIFA’s visionary leadership in also dedicating this year’s games to girls’ education. Few actions have as profound an impact on children – and on society as a whole – as a quality education. But for more than 120 million children—most of them girls—the opportunity to go to school is denied. UNICEF is honoured to continue our alliance with FIFA to focus the world’s attention on this critical issue through the power and appeal of sport.”
FIFA and UNICEF began working together in June 1999, when the FIFA President and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan agreed to a FIFA-UN partnership. Since then, they have cooperated in different projects, with the first act of the partnership being the dedication of the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ to children under the slogan “Say Yes for Children.” A similar campaign in favour of girls’ education was also staged during the last FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003.
FIFA Communications Division
Bangkok, 11 November 2004
Media Release N°05