Today, on International Missing Children’s Day, FIFA is coming together with over 170 football clubs across six continents to support a new initiative that hopes to help find vulnerable young people. Each club, as well as FIFA, has volunteered to use their social media channels to share videos featuring children who are currently missing all over the world.
The ‘Football Cares’ Initiative is being run by the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) and also supported by the European Club Association (ECA). AS Roma, who have a longstanding relationship with ICMEC, are helping to facilitate the project.
“Over one million children are reported missing around the world each year and while the majority may return home quickly and safely, many remain missing for longer periods of time,” said Bob Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer at ICMEC. “On International Missing Children’s Day 2020, we are honoured to have the support of the global football community. With the huge following and global reach that these clubs boast, we hope that someone, somewhere could recognise one of the missing children in the videos and lead to a child being reunited with their loved ones.”
For more than 20 years, ICMEC has been leading efforts to make the world safer for children from abduction, sexual abuse and exploitation. Their work reaches across every continent, and ICMEC’s Global Missing Children’s Network brings together 30 countries to help recover missing and abducted children.
On 25 May each year, to mark International Missing Children’s Day, ICMEC coordinates activities and campaigns to build awareness around the issue of missing children, celebrate those who have been recovered and remember those who are still missing.
“Football is the world’s most popular sport and ICMEC recognises the potential of the clubs to amplify our efforts to publicise the plight of missing children through their incredible social media presence,” said Caroline Humer, Vice President of Programs. “We’d like to thank the ECA and FIFA for their fantastic support, every club who has agreed to participate in the ‘Football Cares’ Initiative and also AS Roma, who first approached us about the initiative and are helping ICMEC to put the campaign together.”
In July 2019, FIFA launched FIFA Guardians™, a new major initiative help member associations and confederations around the world introduce stronger child safeguarding measures in football.
You can learn more about the programme and toolkit, here.