A partnership with UEFA
The ICRC launched its partnership with the Union of European Football Associations in 1997. UEFA has been a major supporter of the ICRC over the past 10 years, donating more than eight million Swiss francs and offering the organization various opportunities to promote humanitarian topics. Between 1997 and 2001, UEFA provided funding for numerous ICRC activities throughout the world. Since 2001, the partnership has focused on ICRC activities in UEFA member countries. In addition to its financial contributions, UEFA has given the ICRC various platforms for communicating on humanitarian topics.
UEFA "Team Of The Year" 2010
UEFA Team of the Year's captain 2009 and Golden Ball 2009 Lionel Messi received the uefa.com users' "Team of Year 2009" award in the form of a cheque for € 100,000 during a UEFA Champions League match at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. Lionel Messi gave the € 100,000 cheque to support the ICRC's efforts to help mine victims and other disabled in Afghanistan.
Alberto Cairo, who oversees the ICRC's limb-fitting and rehabilitation programme in Afghanistan said: "We are very grateful for Lionel Messi's support, which helps finance the treatment we provide for hundreds of mine victims and other disabled people every year. Football is an inspiration for many Afghans, especially children. Many of them know and admire Lionel Messi".
UEFA "Team Of The Year" 2009
FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández received the uefa.com users' "Team of Year 2008" award in the form of a cheque for € 100,000. Xavi, gave the € 100,000 cheque to "Score for the Red Cross" in support of the rehabilitation project for landmine victims of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan.
Christoph Harnisch, Head of ICRC External Resources Division, said: "It is a real encouragement to us. I have been in many countries where there are wars and conflicts, and I have met a lot of youngsters in very difficult situations, and all of them in a way like football."
UEFA EURO 2008 – "Score for the Red Cross"
In 2008, the ICRC was chosen again as the official charity partner. A key aspect of the partnership was an online fundraising campaign, Score for the Red Cross.
Internet users could purchase goals for their favourite side to help it win the title of the most charitable team of the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament. The campaign raised more than € 500,000 for the rehabilitation programme for landmine victims in Afghanistan and other national Red Cross projects. UEFA contributed by donating € 4,000 per goal. As 77 goals were scored during the championship, UEFA alone gave over € 300,000 to the Afghanistan project.
The first ambassador of this campaign was Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese football star. Many other football stars joined Ronaldo in this endeavour, as did as did Marc Forster, who had recently finished directing a James Bond film.
UEFA EURO 2004 – "Let us play"
The joint campaign during UEFA EURO 2004 focused on the protection of children in war. The ambassadors for that campaign were four of the top European referees of the day (Pierluigi Colina, Anders Frisk, Markus Merk and Lubos Michel).