A newly-launched initiative will fund charities focused on helping children who live in the world's worst hit communities, including the frontlines of conflict zones.
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The UEFA Foundation for Children has announced plans to contribute to the Common Goal COVID-19 Response Fund, underlining European football's solidarity in helping the world's poorest communities cope with the coronavirus pandemic's devastating impact.
The Foundation, which sponsors dozens of humanitarian and development projects across the globe, is the first sports institution to support the Response Fund set up on Tuesday by Common Goal – a group of 150 players, managers and leaders who have pledged a percentage of their annual earnings from football to charities working with some of the world's most vulnerable children.
"In these difficult times, which affect many countries and especially the most fragile populations, it is important to coordinate and organise responses adapted to each situation," said UEFA President and UEFA Foundation for Children chairman Aleksander Čeferin.
"It is for this reason that the board of trustees of the UEFA Foundation for Children decided to join this initiative, to allow football to play a role of social responsibility."
Mr Čeferin has been a long-time supporter of Common Goal, having joined in November 2017. Members of the initiative commit 1% of their annual salary to try to facilitate positive change around the globe.
"This is a really positive step for the Common Goal COVID-19 Response Fund and I would like to thank the UEFA Foundation for Children," added Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, the first player to join Common Goal back in August 2017.
"To overcome the coronavirus and the other challenges facing humanity, we need to coordinate individual efforts and work together as a team. I am urging not only my Common Goal team-mates, but also all other players and football leaders from around the world to unite and help tackle this crisis, and at the same time use this as a catalyst to play a key role in tackling the other challenges humanity is facing."
Sport's positive impact
The UEFA Foundation for Children's contribution to the Common Goal COVID-19 Response Fund will help to support youngsters who have been affected by the pandemic. Aside from the short-term aims, the foundation will also look to ensure that assistance will continue, with a focus being placed on communities in conflict zones.
"In the midst of this crisis, football has the chance to realise its full potential in playing a leading role in shaping the world. Together, with the support of everyone who loves football, the sport has a real opportunity to have a positive impact," said Common Goal CEO Jürgen Griesbeck. "We are delighted to have the trust and support from the UEFA Foundation for Children."
The UEFA Foundation for Children supports dozens of humanitarian and development projects across the globe. In 2018, the first edition of the Match For Solidarity took place in Geneva, which involved UEFA and the United Nations Office in Geneva joining forces in order to raise money for charity.
With players across the globe confined to their houses, Common Goal has also created the Live Match platform. Players are invited to commit the 90 minutes which they are no longer spending on the pitch playing football to instead create positive outcomes which benefit communities during these difficult times.
Mata will get the first Live Match under way at 19:00 CET on 9 April, where he will use his Instagram platform to connect with fans and the Bayern München forward Serge Gnabry.
Mata will also use the Live Match platform to connect with a football-based community organisation he supports through Common Goal, while also encouraging people to donate to the Common Goal COVID-19 Response Fund.
"On the pitch, football is not about the individual. Even the best player cannot achieve the best results if there is no teamwork," said Gnabry.
"Off the field it is the same. We need to develop a new way of thinking across football, based on international collaboration and team play. There is no ego in Common Goal. It's all about working together to tackle the world's biggest problems."
The Common Goal Live Match is open to all players, managers and industry leaders within football, to use 90 minutes to help support initiatives to help offset the damage caused to communities by the coronavirus.
How to support the Common Goal COVID-19 Response Fund
Donations to the Common Goal COVID-19 Response Fund can be made at
Players who want to take the Common Goal pledge can do so at www.common-goal.org/Join/SignUp/Player
In addition to making a donation to the response fund or taking the Common Goal pledge, individuals and organisations from the world of football and beyond are encouraged to join in the Common Goal Live Matches, starting with Juan Mata tonight.
About Common Goal
Common Goal currently has almost 150 members, who pledge a minimum of 1% of their earnings from football to a global network of high-impact charities that empower disadvantaged young people using football as the key tool. Members include players such as Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel, Eniola Aluko, Shinji Kagawa, Mats Hummels and Megan Rapinoe, as well as managers such as Jürgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann, and football industry leaders such as the UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
The movement supports the streetfootballworld network of 135 football-based community organisations uniquely positioned to deliver essential support and services in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic to more than 200 communities across 90 countries and more than two million young people.