UEFA believes deeply in football’s power to help people rebuild their lives – and puts these convictions into practice in a long-standing partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
For the tenth successive year, UEFA has donated €100,000 to the ICRC for its rehabilitation programme in Afghanistan for landmine victims and people with other disabilities.
This year, Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has lent crucial support to the programme and partnership, acting as a role model and transmitting his strong love of the game into the bargain.
Ramos presented the €100,000 donation to the ICRC’s regional director for Asia, Boris Michel, in the presence of UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee chairman Peter Gilliéron, ahead of Madrid’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 encounter with Napoli at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday.
The Spanish international received the most votes from fans in the UEFA.com users’ 2016 Team of the Year poll.
He brought delight to members of the Kabul rehabilitation centre’s football team by giving of his time to answer questions from players and explain what it takes to be a top player.
“The people benefiting from the ICRC programme in Afghanistan are an inspiration to us,” he said, “as they set an example of how to approach life in a positive manner despite the problems they face.”
The ICRC’s mission is to protect civilians in countries affected by war, and it has worked in partnership with UEFA since 1997.
The rehabilitation programme in Afghanistan includes the provision of artificial limbs, physiotherapy, vocational training and the chance to play and savour the joy of football in the rehabilitation centre’s football team.
“I would like to pay tribute to the ICRC, who have been working relentlessly to help landmine victims, many of whom are children,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. “Their programme in Afghanistan, which has been in place for several years, shows that football can offer real hope in challenging times.
“I am glad UEFA can help this cause, and that the sport we love can have a positive impact on the rehabilitation process of so many people in this troubled region,” he added.