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Lionel Messi to collect cheque for 100,000 euro from UEFA on behalf of the ICRC

17-03-2010 News Release 10/40

Geneva (ICRC) – The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) will tonight present a cheque for 100,000 euro to Lionel Messi, who amassed almost 250,000 votes to be named the first-choice striker of the uefa.com users' Team of the Year 2009.

   
©Getty Images 
 
FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi receiving a €100,000 cheque from UEFA. The money will support the ICRC's efforts to help mine victims and other disabled people in Afghanistan. ICRC Director of Communications Yves Daccord is pictured on the left and the Special Advisor to the UEFA President, William Gaillard, is on the right. 
      

The cheque will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

William Gaillard, adviser to UEFA President Michel Platini, will hand over the cheque to FC Barcelona's star player before the start of tonight's UEFA Champions League "Round of 16" second-leg match between FC Barcelona and VfB Stuttgart at Camp Nou. For the third time, this money will be going from the hands of the Team of the Year's captain to one of UEFA's long-standing partners, the ICRC, and to their campaign to support landmine victims in Afghanistan.

UEFA began its partnership with the ICRC in 1997 with support for its anti-landmine campaign. This will be third time that the ICRC will benefit from the cheque offered by UEFA in connection with the selection of the uefa.com users' Team of the Year. All monies donated have gone to the Score for the Red Cross campaign supporting the ICRC rehabilitation project providing landmine victims in Afghanistan with artificial limbs, physiotherapy and vocational training.

Ahead of receiving the cheque, FC Barcelona's striker Lionel Messi said:

"It was a great honour for me to be elected to the uefa.com users' Team of the Year 2009. This also helped me realise how lucky I am and how much I can give to less fortunate people around the world. Therefore it is of the highest importance to me to present today the cheque for 100,000 euro to the ICRC, which will support them in helping children who really need it."

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."

More than 60 people are killed or maimed by landmines in Afghanistan every month. The ICRC's limb-fitting and rehabilitation programme has helped more than 90,000 mine victims and other disabled people since it was established in 1988. Apart from supporting their physical rehabilitation, the ICRC also helps disabled people play an active role in society by financing education, vocational training, employment and small business activities.

  For more information on the ICRC's activities in Afghanistan go to ICRC activities in Afghanistan
 
  For further information, please contact:
  Florian Westphal, ICRC, +41 22 730 2282 or +41 79 217 3280
  UEFA Media Services: +41 848 04 27 27