The global fight against poverty is given a high-profile platform tonight with the annual Match Against Poverty, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and staged at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus (kick-off 21.15 local time). A host of star names are taking part, and UEFA is giving its support to the game.
UNDP goodwill ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane's European team will play an all-star side from leading Greek club Olympiacos FC, with the match intended to raise awareness and funds for the millions of people affected by the Haiti earthquake last January and by the Pakistan floods that started in the summer. Radomir Antić and Hugo Sánchez will coach Ronaldo and Zidane's team.
UEFA is backing the event. "The Match Against Poverty is a unique and fantastic platform to draw attention to the United Nations Development Programme which aims to raise funds and address global poverty," UEFA president Michel Platini said. "This year it will be for the millions of people affected by the earthquake in Haiti and by the floods in Pakistan.
"Of all sports perhaps only football, with its global appeal and simple rules of fair play, is uniquely placed to bring people together in such a way and to raise awareness of these global issues," the UEFA president added. "I send my wholehearted support to all those involved in this special match, including the UNDP goodwill ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, and all the players and fans who will attend."
As well as Ronaldo and Zidane, the 'visiting' team will feature an array of international football talent past and present, including: Ricardo Sá Pinto, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Ronald de Boer, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Raúl Albiol, Mahamadou Diarra, Nuno Gomes, Sabri Lamouchi, Christian Karembeu, Darko Kovacević and Antonis Nikopolidis.
Olympiacos owner and vice-president Evangelos Marinakis reflected his club's pride at hosting the game. "For us, Olympiacos is not just a football team but a modern, socially responsible organisation that looks to give the most it can to society, and especially to the youth of our country."
The UNDP is the United Nations' global network to help people meet their development needs and build a better life, and the Match Against Poverty represents an ideal means of underlining the challenge of addressing global poverty. The United Nations' millennium development goals seek to halve world poverty by 2015 by setting targets for rolling back hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.
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Ticket details can be found on the Olympiacos site.
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