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Score for the Red Cross


Currently the top scorer of the Champion’s League, Christiano Ronaldo has been appointed the ambassador of Score for the Red Cross.
©UEFA

Football and the Red Cross Red Crescent may seem unlikely bedfellows, but recognition of shared values has helped forge a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship. In the context of the forthcoming EURO 2008™, UEFA and the ICRC have once again joined forces to bring aid to the victims of armed conflict.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has chosen the ICRC as its official charity partner for the EURO 2008™ football championship, to be held from 7 to 29 June in Austria and Switzerland. The governing body of European football has pledged to donate 4,000 euros (6,700 Swiss francs) to the organization for every regular goal scored in the championship, hence the slogan “Score for the Red Cross”. Had a similar initiative been taken four years ago, during the previous tournament in Portugal, it would have raised more than half a million Swiss francs for the ICRC, with 77 goals scored.

Online show of support

An innovative element of the new partnership is an online fund-raising drive which will enable football fans to ‘buy’ virtual goals for their favourite team to help it win the title of the event’s ‘most generous team’. A web site has been created for this purpose (see box). The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the countries that have qualified for EURO 2008™ can join in the project and will receive half the sums raised in their respective countries, with the other half going to the ICRC.

This is a new departure for the Movement in terms of both Internet fundraising and partnership with a major sporting event. The ICRC was keen to explore a method of raising money that was both fun and interactive. For the donor, it is a way of showing support for a team while simultaneously making a donation to a humanitarian cause. The partnership with UEFA is also an opportunity for the world of sport, through the participation of the national teams in the campaign, to promote humanitarian action.

The ICRC will use the proceeds of the EURO 2008™ campaign to assist mine victims in Afghanistan. Besides providing them with artificial limbs and physiotherapy, the organization also supports their reintegration into family and community life by offering vocational training and the opportunity to start a small business. “I see patients arriving here unable to walk and terribly depressed,” says Alberto Cairo, head of the ICRC’s programme for the war-disabled in Afghanistan. “We can help them find the strength within themselves to get started again.”

A spirit of fair play

ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger and UEFA President Michel Platini announced the new collaboration at a press conference at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on 14 November 2007. “Although we are very different bodies, it is true that we have common values, respect for rules, a commitment to fair play, and a spirit of openness and non-discrimination,” said Kellenberger.“The ICRC is honoured to be teaming up with UEFA in this way for EURO 2008™. We are grateful for UEFA’s long-term support, which has enabled us to help so many victims of armed conflicts the world over.”

Former French captain Michel Platini also expressed his enthusiasm for the deal: “We share many of the same values, and I am delighted that UEFA is able to make this contribution to the ICRC.”

A fervent ‘supporter’ of the ICRC for the past ten years, UEFA has already contributed more than 8 million Swiss francs to the ICRC’s humanitarian activities. The first partnership focused on the campaign to ban anti-personnel mines in 1997, followed by a campaign to promote the protection of children in war in 2002.

Michel Bordier
Michel Bordier is a freelance writer based in Geneva.

For more information, visit www.euro2008.com or www.scorefortheredcross.org.

Who will be European champion?

The answer is one of the 16 teams listed below that have qualified for EURO 2008™: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey.

Interestingly, the two countries that reached the final of the first-ever EURO championship in 1960 — the USSR and Yugoslavia — no longer exist. The result was 2-1 after extra time.

A dedicated web site

www.scorefortheredcross.org has been specifically set up to enable fans to make donations to the Red Cross Red Crescent by purchasing goals for their favourite teams. The more goals bought for a team, the higher up the rankings it will go. At the end of the tournament, the team with the most generous supporters will receive a cup.

The names of all donors will also go into a draw for tickets to EURO 2008TM matches.

The web site also provides information on the activities of the ICRC and participating National Societies, as well as on how the money raised through this collaboration between the sporting and humanitarian worlds will be used.

The National Societies involved

The National Societies participating in the campaign are: Austrian Red Cross, Croatian Red Cross, Czech Red Cross, French Red Cross, German Red Cross, Hellenic Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, The Netherlands Red Cross, Polish Red Cross, Portuguese Red Cross, Romanian Red Cross, The Russian Red Cross Society, Spanish Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross, Turkish Red Crescent Society.

Jakob Kellenberger (left) and Michel Platini announcing the partnership for the EURO 2008TM football championship at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

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