EPFL visits FAO’s TeleFood Projects in Egypt
A high-level delegation of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and former star players visited TeleFood projects developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday 14th of January.
The field visits occurred within the scope of the Cooperation Agreement signed between both organizations and followed the launch of the humanitarian campaign “Professional Football against Hunger”, at FAO headquarters last October.
EPFL senior officials and eminent football players from Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal had to opportunity to see projects designed to improve the nutrition and livelihoods of vulnerable women and children, and to train youngsters in pesticide-free crop production techniques.
The group included the EPFL Chief Executive Officer and delegation leader Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, the President of the Spanish League and EPFL Board member, José Luís Astiazarán, and Tom Bender, Chief Marketing Officer of the German Football League and President of the Bundesliga Foundation, who where joined by the 1982 World Champion Paolo Rossi (Italy – Ambassador of the Lega Calcio), the former German football star Hansi Müller (Germany – Ambassador of the Bundesliga), and the coach of the Al-Ahly Football Club, Manuel José (Portugal – Ambassador of the Portuguese League), four times champion of the African Champions League.
After the field visits the EPFL delegation and FAO senior representatives were welcomed by the First Lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, in a meeting held at the Presidential Palace, in Cairo. Mrs. Mubarak was nominated in October 2008 as Raeia of FAO’s activities and TeleFood Programmes.
This intense journey was concluded with a meeting with the Egyptian Sport Minister, Mr. Hassan Sakr, followed by a joint press conference at the National Sports Council, in the Egyptian capital.
“While we speak, 963 million human beings are starving around the world. The need for greater action – not just the usual proclamation of good intentions, but real action – has never been so urgent and so dramatically needed. This is an indeclinable moral obligation of all and each one of us. To stand still is simply not an option. As we witnessed in children’s eyes today, even the simplest gestures can make the difference”, stated Emanuel Medeiros during one of the field visits.
FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf lauded EPFL for putting its muscle behind the campaign at a time when the number of hungry people worldwide has soared to 963 million amid global financial worries. “FAO appreciates the power of sport, and football in particular, to spread awareness and mobilize political will and financial resources in the fight against hunger, a fight that is more urgent than ever,” Diouf said.
The implementation of the Campaign “Professional Football Against Hunger” heralds an important milestone in the involvement of the European Professional Football Leagues in the global fight for a world free from hunger and poverty. The action includes the 28 EPFL Member Leagues and Associate Members, representing more than 900 professional football clubs across Europe.
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