Yesterday, Thursday, 31 May 2018, thanks to several Bundesliga Legends, the UN headquarters in New York was filled with the spirit of football. In association with the United Nations Permanent Representatives, former star athletes and Bundesliga players such as the two World Champions Lothar Matthäus (Germany) and Paulo Sergio (Brazil) as well as Jörg Albertz (Germany), Wynton Rufer (New Zealand), Bum-Kun Cha (South Korea) and Pavel Pardo (Mexico) documented the unifying power of football. Germany’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Christoph Heusgen, welcomed DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga CEO Christian Seifert to the event.
The discussion between Lothar Matthäus, Pavel Pardo, German Bundesliga referee Bibiana Steinhaus, UN-Ambassadors and high-ranking representatives of the UN secretariat focused on personal sports experiences and football’s globally integrative significance. In addition to the conversations a mini-tournament with four regional teams of US-ambassadors and Bundesliga legends was held on a five-a-side football pitch, in a tournament-style showdown of 15-minute matches refereed by Bibiana Steinhaus, the 2013, 2014 and 2017 World Female Referee and the first woman ever to officiate at a Bundesliga match.
Christoph Heusgen pointed out the similarities between the values of the UN and football: “Football is a phenomenon that overcomes language barriers and cultural divides, and brings people together all over the world. Peaceful coexistence, regardless of a person’s origin or social status, is ultimately one of the goals for which the United Nations was founded over 70 years ago. Many of my 192 colleagues here in New York share the same passion for that round leather ball, no matter what country they represent at the UN.”
Christian Seifert said: “Football connects people from all over the world – regardless of origin and nationality. We were able to experience that at this United Nations event today. The Bundesliga wishes the German Permanent Mission continued success in their important task and a successful election to the UN Security Council.”
(DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga)