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Brussels, 28 February 2012

The European Commission's partnership with FAO and European football: Together We Can Save Lives

In a world of seven billion people, nearly one billion suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. The European Commission has joined forces with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Professional Football League (EPFL) to raise awareness of this problem and of the actions needed to help hunger's most vulnerable victims. The 2012 edition of the "European Football against Hunger" campaign focuses on the looming food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa where five countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) have declared an emergency and called for international assistance.

The Campaign

The campaign aims to bring up the public's awareness of the joint efforts needed to fight hunger and malnutrition. Football matches, field visits, actions at fairs, exhibitions and activities through the social media will draw attention to the plight of the increasing number of hungry people around the world. Projects co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by FAO will illustrate efficient and effective ways to help people affected or threatened by hunger. To help bring the campaign's messages to more European citizens, the European Professional Football League is mobilising its vast network of member leagues and football clubs across the continent, including world class players. The motto of the campaign is Together We Can Save Lives.

The Ambassadors

Some of the brightest stars of European football serve as goodwill ambassadors of the campaign. The list of FAO Goodwill Ambassadors includes Raul Gonzalez, Patrick Vieira, Roberto Baggio, Herbert Prohaska, Hristo Stoichkov, Francesco Toldo, Vidar Riseth, Felix Magath, Stephen Froind, Alexey Medvedev. They will participate in field trips to humanitarian projects, participate in the European Match Day against Hunger, promote the activities of the European Commission and FAO to fight hunger and raise awareness about the needs to help pull out of hunger's trap the millions of victims who rely on aid to survive.

Match Day against Hunger 2012

The high point of the 2012 campaign is the Match Day against Hunger. This third edition of the event will bring together 20 European Football Leagues in 15 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom) in matches played by over 300 professional football clubs all over Europe on 31st of March and 1st of April. The full programme of matches and other events will soon available on:

The Sahel Food Crisis

The Match Day will be dedicated to the looming food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa. The Sahel countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad) suffer from a chronic malnutrition crisis. Erratic rains, poor harvests, the drop in remittances from Libya and Cote d'Ivoire and rapidly rising food prices are aggravating the persistent food insecurity in the region. Nearly 12 million people are at risk of hunger. The most affected countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) have declared an emergency and called for international assistance. The European Commission has taken early action to prevent the worst: a repetition of the Horn of Africa food crisis that erupted in 2011. To date, the Commission has mobilized €123.5 million for humanitarian aid for the Sahel. Combined with at least €150 million of development assistance, this brings Commission's funding for the region so to almost €275 million this year.



The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) is a non-profit sporting organisation dedicated to constructively represent the common views of the major 30 leagues and more than 950 clubs across Europe. It gives the leagues a forum and a platform to decide how best to deal the questions facing the modern world of sport and business. The Association embodies the common voice of professional football leagues. Fostering co-operation, friendly relations and unity between all its member leagues and associate members, and exploring joint synergies with football authorities and relevant stakeholders, it aims to positively transform and add significant value to the football fabric of Europe.


The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) is one of the global leaders in the effort to end hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. It helps developing countries and countries in transition modernise and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all.

Currently, FAO is operating 17 emergency projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America funded by the European Commission's humanitarian budget with €17.5 million in total. Through of these projects, in drought-stricken Chad, nearly 50,000 people on the verge of hunger (including women women-led households, Chadian returnees from Libya and others) receive seeds and tools, so that they can grow food and make an income.


Through its Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, the European Commission delivers assistance to people affected by natural and man-made disasters around the globe regardless of their nationality, religion, gender, ethnic origin or political affiliation. Through the Commission, European humanitarian aid is delivered to the most vulnerable people around the globe in cooperation with about 200 partner organisations - NGOs, the Red Cross and the United Nations.

Since its creation 20 years ago in April 1992, ECHO (the Commission's humanitarian aid arm) has channelled around €14 billion to victims of disasters in over 140 countries around the globe. Today, an average of €1 billion is provided annually, helping nearly 150 million of the world's most vulnerable people by providing food, shelter, water and other forms of life-saving assistance. Together with the support provided by EU Member States, the European Union is the world’s leading humanitarian donor.

List of participating leagues

Austria  - Osterreichische Fußball Bundesliga

Belgium – Pro League

Bulgaria – Bulgaria Professional Football League

England – The Premier League and The Football League

Germany - DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH

Greece - Super League

Italy Serie A, Serie B and Lega Pro

The Netherlands - Eredivisie

Norway – Norway Football League

Poland  - Polish Professional Football League

Portugal - Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional

Russian Federation - Russian Football Premier League, Russia Football National League

Scotland – Scottish Premier League

Slovenia - Prva Slovenska nogometna liga

Spain - Liga BBVA

Ukraine - Ukrainian Premier League

For further information


Website of the campaign:

The European Commission's assistance in the Sahel:

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva's website:

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