UEFA is again lending its support to this year's Match Against Poverty organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which will highlight the fight against Ebola.
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The 12th Match Against Poverty will help boost Ebola recovery efforts, and will see UNDP goodwill ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane team up with other football stars for this year's match against an AS Saint-Étienne All-Stars side at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, France, on Monday 20 April (kick-off 20.00CET).
Two-thirds of all proceeds will go towards helping the hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone recover from the epidemic, while the remaining third will go to the club's Association ASSE Coeur-Vert, which supports social projects in Saint-Etienne.
UNDP is leading the initiatives of the UN system on Ebola-related recovery. "While all efforts to stop Ebola are continuing, thorough recovery from its many consequences for the societies and economies of the epicentre countries must be planned now," said UNDP administrator Helen Clark. "Millions of lives and livelihoods have been hit hard. We must all team up for the long term and support these countries to recover.
"Governments, development partners, NGOs and the private sector all have roles to play to support these countries as they recover from this crisis and equip them to deal with future shocks," she added. "There will be no recovery if the transmission of the disease isn't stopped and without reconstruction of the social and economic fabric which has been damaged by the outbreak."
"The Match Against Poverty is an important platform to raise awareness of the actions and initiatives undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme to eradicate poverty around the world," said UEFA President Michel Platini. "This year the proceeds from the game will be sent to countries in Africa which have been affected by the Ebola epidemic. We have all seen how people on this continent have suffered and how much they truly need our support.
"As the most popular sport in the world, football is uniquely placed to bring people together and to be a force for good," Mr Platini added. "I send my wholehearted support to all those involved in this special match in Saint-Etienne, including the UNDP goodwill ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, and all the players and fans who will attend."
Ronaldo, Zidane and the UNDP have been the key figures behind the Match Against Poverty since the opening game in 2003. Eleven successful editions have been staged in Basel, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Malaga, Fez, Lisbon, Athens, Hamburg, Porto Alegre and Berne. Each year, the funds raised support specific projects in different countries dealing with difficult challenges.
Legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo called for greater support for Ebola recovery, saying: "We're delighted to play a part in helping people, communities and countries get back on their feet after the damage that Ebola has caused."
France's celebrated midfielder Zidane echoed those sentiments, saying: "Ebola isn't over until the last case is treated, and we must stand by these countries for the long-term recovery."
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crises, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and construct resilient nations.
Ticket prices range from €8 to €12, and will be on sale from today online and at ticket counters at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.