Fans have been urged to support the official UEFA EURO 2008™ humanitarian project launched by UEFA together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross societies of the nations playing in Austria and Switzerland.
Goals worth €4,000
For the first time, UEFA is directly linking its support to what happens on the pitch – every goal scored during the finals, except in penalty shoot-outs, will be worth a €4,000 donation. The ICRC will use the funds raised to help landmine victims in Afghanistan walk again. The provision of artificial limbs and gradual rehabilitation helps to restore lost dignity. The ICRC also facilitates reintegration into family and community life by offering vocational training and the possibility to start a small business. Half of the registered donations coming from residents of one of the 16 finalist countries will go to a project of their national Red Cross society.
"This is the culmination of a ten-year partnership with UEFA," said the ICRC's Antoine Bièler, who is organising the campaign. "The month of the EURO is a joyful moment throughout Europe and this initiative is a new way of collecting funds in a positive manner." The other major innovation is that fans have the possibility to participate in an online fundraising campaign. They are invited to buy virtual goals at scorefortheredcross.org for their favourite team. A league table shows which competing sides have had the most charity goals scored for them. "At the end of the EURO, one of the teams will be named the most humanitarian team," said Bièler. "So in a way, there is a parallel EURO running alongside the actual tournament."
Log on and score goals
With the most humanitarian team trophy to be awarded on 6 July, the ICRC spokesman added: "It's quite a first for us that a humanitarian organisation is so closely associated to a major sports event. We have a number of players supporting us, such as Patrick Müller [Switzerland], Frank Ribéry and William Gallas [France], Alessandro Del Pierro [Italy] as well as Cristiano Ronaldo [Portugal] who is ambassador [for Score for the Red Cross]." The Manchester United FC and Portugal forward said of his participation: "Landmine victims need determination and a lot of encouragement on the road to recovery. I have a lot of respect for them and I want to support them. The great thing about this campaign is that everyone is a winner when it comes to giving and receiving. The website offers football fans a chance to have fun while making a difference. What could be better than that?" Click here to Score for the Red Cross.
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