Drogba to play in Match Against Poverty

GENEVA / PIRAEUS - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Didier Drogba will join top footballers Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane in the eighth annual Match Against Poverty on December 14.

The match, which kicks off at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, at 9:15pm local time, will channel funds into recovery efforts for the catastrophic disasters that hit Haiti and Pakistan this year.

“I always wanted to participate in the Match Against Poverty,” said Drogba, who was appointed as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador in 2007.

“This is the first year the English Premier League calendar allows me to be present. I am thrilled to be with Ronaldo, Zidane and many other players to help the people of Haiti and Pakistan, and contribute to the global fight against poverty.”

UNDP will receive half of the match proceeds, which will be used to support the nearly 25 million people affected by the Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods.

“Our goal with this Match Against Poverty is to support the people and governments of Pakistan and Haiti to recover from the devastating natural disasters which affected them so terribly in 2010,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

“We are grateful to Olympiacos Football Club and our Goodwill Ambassadors for uniting with UNDP to raise awareness and funds for those who are often too quickly forgotten.”

Zidane said: “With five years left to accomplish the set of eight goals, I hope this Match Against Poverty will help communicate a sense of urgency that we all need to join the team to end poverty now.”

Funds from last year's Match Against Poverty, which took place in Lisbon, Portugal in January, were used for a UNDP employment creation programme in Haiti.

Olympiacos Football Club, which hosts the event, will donate its share of proceeds to Argo, the Navy Union for parents of children with special needs, as well as to homeless and disadvantaged communities in Piraeus.

Evangelos Marinakis, owner of Olympiacos Football Club, said he hopes the event will bring people around the globe together, breaking down stereotypes and frontiers.

“Using football’s magic driving force, Olympiacos F.C. is on the pitch to raise an appeal against poverty and mobilise global action towards achieving the MDGs.”

As in previous years, the Goodwill Ambassadors will mobilise their team from across Europe to take on an all-star team from Olympiacos in a friendly match.

Massimo Bussaca, a Swiss referee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has been confirmed as the official for the match.

Information on ticket sales is available at: www.olympiacos.org