THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Together we can save lives

Together we can save lives

Together we can save lives

European football is raising its voice against poverty and hunger in the world. A total of 23 leagues and more than 300 professional clubs have joined a campaign called “Together we can save lives”, a large-scale campaign focused on the current food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. The food crisis in the Sahel region has left more than eleven million people at risk of hunger due to a combination of drought, poor harvests and rocketing prices.

The campaign launched by “Professional Football Against Hunger”, a partnership between the Association for European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection Office (ECHO) and Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), will be highlighted and publicised at more than 150 stadiums across Europe over the coming weekend. The campaign will see various special banners, flags and shirts with slogans like “Together we can save lives”, “Sahel Emergency” and “Professional Football against Hunger” around the European arenas.

The referees at all matches played between March 30th and April 2nd will all be kitted out with a yellow whistle – the symbol of the campaign, true to another of its mottos, “Sound the alarm!”.

“We want to use the power of football to call attention to this urgent problem. We may often have differing opinions within the European football community, but all the leagues are united in the battle against hunger,” Bundesliga CEO Tom Bender said.

“The most vulnerable and most tragic victims of the Sahel crisis are children – those whose dreams of becoming famous football players, or going to university, will be crushed by the physical and mental toll of hunger. We can help save more of these children and give them a chance to follow their dreams – and this is what this campaign is about,” European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva added. “Thanks to football’s magic ability to reach millions of people, we can save more lives in the Sahel. Together we can save lives.”

“We must act now to help people help themselves,” Director-General of FAO José Graziano da Silva said. “At the same time, we need to build resilience in local communities to stop jumping from crisis to crisis, and to prevent droughts from leading inevitably to famine.”

“Football is the great global unifier,” EPFL Chairman Sir David Richards voiced. “The leagues and the players know the power and popularity of our sport and we are proud to use that power to tell stories that otherwise would not be told. European professional football is providing the megaphone for this message so that the right help can get to the people in need as soon as possible.”

The campaign relies on its goodwill ambassadors – world-famous football stars who are working to convey its message to hundreds of millions of fans across Europe. The list of goodwill ambassadors include the likes of Raúl González Blanco, Patrick Vieira, Hristo Stoitchkov, Roberto Carlos and many more.