55,000 Spectators Join the Match Against Poverty in Support of Haiti

LISBON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Over 50,000 spectators were on hand to watch the seventh Match Against Poverty in Lisbon, on Monday, in which the "Friends of Ronaldo and Zidane" tied with the "Benfica All Stars" team -- three all. Sixty international football players hailing from teams across the world competed in the two star-studded teams. The Match Against Poverty was broadcasted live in more than 60 countries. All the proceeds -- from the tickets, sponsors, broadcasting rights and direct donations -- will be directed towards relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. The total proceeds raised will be communicated in the coming days.

Before the kick-off, participants observed a one-minute silence in remembrance of the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. The Match also focused attention on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted in 2000, which seek to halve world poverty by 2015.

"Every time we get together for this match we can help make a difference," United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Zinedine Zidane said. "We can't stress enough the importance of mobilizing people for the recovery of the disaster that just occurred in Haiti and for the ongoing projects we have with the UNDP."

"I think Haiti needs everybody's support now," said Kaka, who was invited by his good friend Ronaldo, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, to represent him in the match. "Around the world there are a lot of problems, but the most urgent problem now is Haiti -- and because of that I am very happy to be part of this game tonight and to represent Ronaldo here."

For the past seven years, UNDP's Match Against Poverty has raised funds for global efforts to reduce poverty while at the same time shining a much needed spotlight on those efforts. The Match Against Poverty is supported by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The players, brought together through the efforts of UNDP Goodwill Ambassador's Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, included two rising Haitian players from Portuguese football clubs, Jean Sony and Joseph Peterson, representing their recently devastated nation. The Brazilian midfielder Kaka (Real Madrid) represented Ronaldo who, unfortunately, was unable to attend the Match as he started, on 24 January, the Brazilian football season with his Club Corinthians. Other football stars participating in the match included Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic), Michael Laudrup (Denmark), Thierry Henry, Fabien Barthez and Christophe Dugarry (France), Edgar Davids and Phillip Cocu (Netherlands), Luis Figo, Fernando Couto, Pauleta, Rui Costa and Nuno Gomez (Portugal), Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu (Romania), Lucas Radebe (South Africa) and Fernando Hierro (Spain).

The match was refereed by the legendary Italian Pierluigi Collina

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates; Bruce Jenks, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Partnerships Bureau; Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, and Luis Filipe Vieira, President of the Benfica Foundation, were among the high-ranking officials who attended the Match.

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Broadcast footage of the highlights of the match is available upon request. For more information please contact Boaz Paldi e-mail

UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners. Http://

Source: United Nations Development Programme