NEW YORK, Aug. 4 Soccer club FC Barcelona, FCB Foundation,Malaria No More and the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) todayannounced the "More Than A Club: Kick it to Malaria" initiative. The focus ofthis global partnership is to raise funds and awareness to help fight malariaand save the lives of children in Africa. Malaria is the number one killer ofchildren in Africa and takes one life every 30 seconds -- more than onemillion every year.
FC Barcelona boasts a roster of some of the world's best soccer players.The team has long lived by their motto and team philosophy of being "More Thana Club." Now the storied club will take on the number one killer of childrenin Africa: malaria. The year-long "Kick it to Malaria" campaign(www.MoreThanAClub.org) features five key components:
-- FC Barcelona will be participating in a four-on-four soccer tournamentat Chelsea Waterside Field in Manhattan on August 5th with each team comprisedof at least one FC Barcelona player, one AYSO player, and one supporter, withall proceeds going to the partnership between the club's Foundation andMalaria No More.
-- FC Barcelona and AYSO will invite their more than 600,000 U.S. youthwho participate in their soccer programs to get pledges from coaches, parentsand communities for the 2008 season to buy $10 bed nets for kids in Africa.AYSO is reaching out to all U.S. soccer kids to be a part of this importantinitiative.
-- FC Barcelona will wear a special edition jersey with the Malaria NoMore logo on the left shoulder for their U.S. tour, which includes gamesagainst Mexican team Chivas Guadalajara in Chicago on August 3 and the NewYork Red Bulls of MLS on August 6.
-- Funds raised through the "Kick it to Malaria" campaign will supportmalaria control in Africa in cooperation with FC Barcelona Foundation throughits children & youth support Program "International Network of SolidarityCenters" (XICS), implemented in more than 11 countries around the world, halfof them in Africa. The main objective of the XICS program is to care forvulnerable children and youth through an integral approach, by providing themwith education, health care and psychosocial support to make a real impact ontheir lives and those of their families.
-- Fox Soccer Channel is donating one bed net for every goal scored onit's broadcasts during the 2008-09 season and will air PSAs about the campaignfeaturing players from FC Barcelona, while Fox Sports en Espanol will alsomake a $10 contribution for each goal scored in its live and premieretelecasts of the Copa Nissan Sudamericana, FIFA Club World Cup, InterLiga,Mexican Soccer and Copa Santander Libertadores.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to bring global attention to a problemthat is destroying lives and economies in Africa," said Peter Chernin,Chairman, Malaria No More and President and Chief Operating Officer, NewsCorporation. "Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and havingorganizations like FC Barcelona and AYSO helping to spread the message willmake a huge difference and translate to thousands of lives saved."
"FC Barcelona is deeply committed to our world's main challenges throughits Foundation program's by using sport as a powerful tool to benefitvulnerable children & youth to offer them a future of hope and well-being,"said Joan Laporta, President of FC Barcelona. "In this case, soccer unitesAfrican and American children and gives them a unique opportunity to followtheir dreams."
"AYSO exists to develop life skills not just soccer skills," said AYSONational Executive Director and former captain of the U.S. Men's OlympicSoccer team, Rick Davis. "We want AYSO kids to be fans of soccer and look upto players like Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Lionel Messi and the rest ofthe FC Barcelona players. We want to show our kids that they can join withthese famous players to make a differen