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World’s football legends play at the 11th Annual Match against Poverty in show of solidarity with the Philippines

The UNDP and its Goodwill Ambassadors, football legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, with the support of football’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) held the 11th Annual Football Match against Poverty, dedicated to the victims of typhoon Haiyan, at the Stade De Suisse National Stadium in Berne on 04 March 2014. Around 21,000 people attended the event and showed solidarity with the Philippines. The event was televised worldwide.

Photo: UNDP team lead by football legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane and BSC Young Boys and Friends hold the streamer expressing their support for the Philippines.

The UNDP team led by Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane played against Bern professional football club, BSC Young Boys and Friends. The match, which ended at 8:6 in favor of the UNDP team, also saw other football legends such as Luís Figo, Fabio Cannavaro and Patrick Vieira, Deco, Pavel Nedvěd, and Roberto Carlos, played for the UNDP team.

Brazilian female football legend and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Marta Vieira da Silva also joined the all-male UNDP team to call attention to the plight of women and in support of the celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March. Ms. Silva, who is a five-time winner of the FIFA Female World Player of the Year, recently launched a video appeal to assist Haiyan victims.

UNDP Partnerships Manager and Organizer of the Annual Match against Poverty, Aziyade Poltier, said it was really the Philippines that won the match as both sides played for the country.

Two-thirds of the match proceeds would go to UNDP projects for the victims of typhoon Haiyan such as the ongoing cash-for-work project cleaning debris in Tacloban and other projects supporting rehabilitation efforts. 

Officials of the Philippine Embassy in Berne and the Philippine Mission in Geneva joined 21,000 people who watched the match. A sizeable number of the Filipino community in Switzerland, including second-generation Swiss-Filipinos, was also present. 

Photo: The crowd of 21,000 people cheers the two teams as they play in support of the victims of typhoon Haiyan

The Match against Poverty is an annual event designed to raise awareness on poverty and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and support specific projects and various countries.  The first match was held in Basel, Switzerland in 2003, and from there has been held in various cities including Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Malaga, Fes, Lisbon, Athens, Hamburg, and Porto Alegre (Brazil).

Football legends Ronaldo, Zidane and de Silva, at a press conference held before the match expressed their solidarity with the victims of typhoon Haiyan.

In a separate interview by Geneva-based Swiss radio World Radio Switzerland (WRS), Philippine Ambassador Leslie Baja said, “We are very appreciative of this initiative by the UNDP and the football legends as well as the overwhelming support of the people who watched the game. We know that they went there not just to watch the match. They were also one in spirit with the Filipino people.”

The UNDP has uploaded a press release and a collection of photos taken during then event on its website at www.undp.org. END

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