EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva supports ECHO/EPFL/FAO

European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and famous football player Hristo Stoichkov join the Europe-wide campaign “Professional Football Against Hunger”, organised in partnership between the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), and the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO). At a friendly meeting in Sofia, the Commissioner and Mr Stoichkov discussed this upcoming humanitarian partnership initiative. A first step in this direction will be the visit of Mr Stoichkov to Burkina Faso, where he will raise international awareness to nutrition projects, managed by FAO and financed by ECHO. 

“As the world’s largest donor of humanitarian aid, the European Union helps millions of people in need each year. Yet, those affected by hunger and disaster need more support, and their problems call for more attention. Football, which is the world’s most popular game, offers an excellent platform to raise awareness and interest to the needs of those in the gravest risk of malnutrition and disasters. I am very happy that we will work in this direction with a star like Hristo Stoichkov,” Commissioner Georgieva said.

ECHO has teamed up with FAO and the EPFL to raise awareness about the growing need to fight hunger around the world. This is just the latest of the many winning teams where Hristo Stoichkov plays. In March, the Bulgarian football star will travel to Burkina Faso, where he will visit ECHO-financed projects supporting the nutrition and livelihoods of thousands of vulnerable households. On this trip, Mr Stoichkov will join Sir David Richards, Chairman of The English Premier League and Chairman  of EPFL, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of the EPFL, and Stephan Kapralov, President of the Bulgarian Professional Football League (BPFL), which is a long-term participant in the “Professional Football Against Hunger” campaign.

A short film and a presentation about their visit will be shown at the prestigious international football forum Soccerex, during which the EPFL will organise a Press Conference fully dedicated to this ambitious project. Event which will take place in Manchester on 30 March 2011. Later in spring, the campaign’s results will also be presented at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Many talented football players have joined the “Professional Football Against Hunger” campaign. Alongside Mr Stoichkov, this year the campaign will be joined by the Manchester City F.C. star Patrick Vieira, among others.

The delivery of humanitarian aid in crisis situations is a complex task, that requires commitment and team-work – conditions that are also required for victory in football. In Europe, the football industry is increasingly engaged in supporting humanitarian causes.

The “Professional Football Against Hunger” campaign is running for three years now. It is a result of the collaboration between the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and FAO. In 2010 the European Union has also joined the campaign through its humanitarian aid department – ECHO.

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Source: European Commission

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