Ronaldo and Zidane to star in third annual "Match Against Poverty"

09 Nov 2005

Footballing heroes Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane are inviting some of the worlds best-known footballers to join them in an all-star line-up for the third Match Against Poverty on December 22, at the LTU arena in Düsseldorf, Germany.

As goodwill ambassadors for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ronaldo and Zidane will each captain an international team for this friendly aimed at mobilizing the public in the fight against poverty. Pierluigi Collina has agreed to come out of retirement to referee the match for the third year running.

Ronaldo and Zidane, stars of Real Madrid, Spains premiere football club, have been the driving force behind the Match Against Poverty since 2003. The response from the public and the media to the first two games showed us that we should continue mobilizing the world of football in helping to overcome poverty. We are more determined than ever to do what we can to achieve this.

"It is great to be hosting this major event in Düsseldorf. The city itself and the LTU arena offer an excellent setting for this match. We are looking forward to welcoming the best soccer players in the world ", said the Lord Mayor of Dusseldorf, Joachim Erwin.

The match is also intended to draw attention to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were re-affirmed by the leaders of 191 countries at the UN Summit in New York last September. The goals seek to halve world poverty by 2015 by setting targets for rolling back hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.

Never before have we had the resources, the technology and the essential public support needed to keep hundreds of million of people from being condemned to lives of abject deprivation, said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis. Now is the time to ensure that we actually achieve the Millennium Development Goals. We have 10 years to do it, but we have to start immediately.

Proceeds from the first two matches, have benefited anti-poverty projects in Brazil, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Morocco, Namibia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. This year again, net profits of ticket sales, will also finance projects selected by UNDP in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The match is supported by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) while top sporting goods manufacturers, Nike and Adidas, are contributing equipment for the teams. In partnership with UNDP, the match is organized with the support of LTU arenas management with a stadium capacity of 50,000 people. We are very happy to have the opportunity to play this match in Düsseldorf, six months before the start of the World Cup in Germany. We hope that the German public will respond positively to our call for the fight against poverty concluded the two football stars.