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Afghanistan: 100,000 euros from UEFA for landmine victims

07-03-2012 News Release 12/49

Geneva (ICRC) – The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) will present a cheque for 100,000 euros tonight to Xavi Hernández, who was named the first-choice striker of the users' Team of the Year 2011.

The Spanish footballer will donate the funds to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support the organization's physical rehabilitation programme for landmine victims in Afghanistan.

"It's an honour to be part of the team and also to be captain. It's an honour to represent European and world football, and in this case we are helping people who are more vulnerable and who need it – so I am proud in that sense," said Xavi Hernández. "It is very important to help. We are privileged people in society. We have it good, through living our passion. It's a profession of course but it's also a hobby and a passion. So to be able to help people who need it, it's a beautiful cause and I feel very proud."

Peter Gilliéron, a member of the UEFA executive committee, will award 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 Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Camp Nou.

UEFA began its partnership with the ICRC in 1997 with support for its anti-landmine campaign. All monies donated go 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.

"This is an important and much-appreciated gesture. It will directly benefit mine victims and other disabled people we are helping in Afghanistan," said Pierre Krähenbühl, the ICRC's director of operations. "Physical rehabilitation changes people's lives for the better. The needs in Afghanistan are enormous, however, and this support will help us to expand and improve the services we provide."

The ICRC's limb-fitting and rehabilitation programme has helped more than 106,000 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 further information, please contact:
Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 34 43 or +41 79 251 93 02
UEFA Media Services, tel: +41 848 04 27 27