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Brussels, 8 June 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup: Best wishes from the European Commission

Ahead of the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, President Barroso, Commissioner Vassiliou and Commissioner Piebalgs have conveyed their best wishes for a successful World Cup.

Read the statement of President Barroso made during the visit in Addis Abeba on 8 June at the occasion of the European Commission's meeting with the Commission of the African Union (see Annex 1 or MEMO/10/244)

Watch the video message of Commissioner Piebalgs

Read the letter sent by Commissioner Vassiliou to FIFA President Sepp Blatter (see Annex 2)

Further information:

The Commission is co-funding a project in South Africa with EUR 10 million, in addition to EUR 7,5 million EUR coming from the German ministry for development cooperation. The specific purpose is to empower disadvantaged youth in South Africa and other African countries through culture, arts and sports activities. Young people are involved in organising community life and in making a positive contribution to local development. Sport activities include support to the School Sport Mass Participation Programme, development of training modules/materials, training of sport coordinators, testing and dissemination of school football leagues and organisation of “football for development” events before and after the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Commission also supports with EUR 300.000 the training of African journalists and photographers with a view to ensure a quality coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 200 participants were trained all over Africa. This project is co-funded by France Press and FIFA.

The Commission is also co-funding a European NGO initiative 'Football for Development' through the Thematic Programme 'Non-State Actors and Local Authorities'. This two-year project aims to use the popularity and universality of football as a unique entry point to raise awareness on development issues and to promote education for development among young people.


Message of President Barroso ahead of the start of the FIFA World Cup on 11 June 2010

President Barroso conveyed the following message during the visit in Addis Ababa on 8 June at the occasion of the European Commission's meeting with the Commission of the African Union:

"The hearts of millions of people around the world will start beating faster on 11 June when the Football World Cup begins in South Africa.

I am particularly pleased that it is for the first time that an African nation hosts the World Cup.

Like every supporter, I will be cheering on my team and hoping that we have one of the most entertaining tournaments with free flowing football and fair play. And I hope that we see the massive progress that African nations have made in being a real force in the beautiful game.

But beyond my passion for the sport, I am convinced that football is more than a sport: it is a universal language, a language that helps people from different cultures and backgrounds to unite.

Borders of culture, of language and of nationality will be forgotten thanks to the World Cup.

I am sure that South Africa and the whole African continent will make the best out of it. As the eyes of the world turn to South Africa, I sincerely believe that after the World Cup, the country will go from strength to strength. This legacy will not only see major improvements in the country's infrastructure. What I sincerely hope is that a sense of pride and confidence will embrace the country and the continent. South Africa is a stunning country, rich in tradition, culture and vibrancy. Football is above all about hope. It is the perfect platform for South Africa's future which it should grasp with both hands.

I wish South Africa and the African continent success, and for all those that watch enjoyment, excitement and above all fun."


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