Los Angeles, California — In support of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) will reach out to the football community throughout the 2013 Gold Cup tournament in a pledge to ensure they protect themselves and lead healthy and productive lives.
“CONCACAF is keen to partner with the United Nations in the framework of our social responsibility initiatives throughout this edition of Gold Cup,” said CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice President, Jeffrey Webb. “We deem important to extend our support to UNAIDS’ main objective of expanding HIV prevention messages to the football family towards a healthier society… for football is passion and health.”
The promotion of the Protect the Goal campaign will be held during the first six matches (Los Angeles, CA, July 7; Harrison, NJ, July 8; Portland, OR, July 9) and the final game (Chicago, IL, July 28) of the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2013 tournament. This will entail the presentation of the campaign banners by each participating team before the games. Furthermore, a pledge will be read by a representative of each of the qualified National Teams: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.
From left to right: CONCACAF President, Jeffrey Webb; UNAIDS Senior Adviser, Dr. Djibril Diallo; Panamanian Football Federation President, Pedro Chaluja; and Mexican Football Federation President, Justino Compean, during the Gold Cup opener between Mexico and Panama at Rose Bowl on July 7.
“This high-profile tournament is timely given its proximity to the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s ‘1000 Days of Action’ campaign to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Senior Adviser to UNAIDS, Dr. Djibril Diallo. “Strong advocacy during Gold Cup will allow UNAIDS to demonstrate that it is indeed giving ‘1,000 percent’ to achieve the MDGs.”
The proposed advocacy initiatives will provide an opportunity to increase the global visibility of UNAIDS and its work in the AIDS response. Given the size of the tournament, which is followed by millions of fans around the world, these events will also provide opportunities for UNAIDS to identify potential sponsors and partners.
“Furthermore, given the national and regional focus by a wide range of partners in the Post-2015 Development Agenda of the United Nations, CONCACAF’s support provides an opportunity to shape the outcome of the consultations by demonstrating that people recognize the importance of community mobilization,” added Dr. Diallo.
In April 2013, the United Nations and CONCACAF entered into a cooperation agreement for joint advocacy in furtherance of the UNAIDS’ Protect the Goal campaign. Through this MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), UNAIDS and CONCACAF will carry out joint advocacy activities in all competitions organized by CONCACAF in support of the campaign, which is a brand new initiative within the framework of UNAIDS sport for global advocacy.
During the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship 2013 (Panama, dates), and FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013 - CONCACAF Qualifier (Bahamas, dates), the Confederation has indeed embarked on the dissemination of these prevention messages. The campaign highlights the power of protection and fosters HIV prevention and treatment, in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
CONCACAF and UNAIDS officials saluting the teams before the ‘Protect the Goal’ pledge during the Gold Cup opener between Mexico and Panama at Rose Bowl on July 7.
Globally, an estimated 4.6 million young people (15-24 years of age) are living with HIV. About 2,300 young people are infected with HIV each day. Many young people living with HIV, who are eligible for treatment lack access or do not know their HIV status. In Latin America, the situation among youth is of particular concern. Less than 30% of 15-24 year olds could correctly identify how to prevent sexual transmission of HIV, and condom use in this age group remains low, while only 30% of women aged 20 to 24 report using condoms during their last sexual activity. The “Protect the Goal” campaign also stresses the need for ensuring all the 15 million people eligible for life-saving antiretroviral treatment can access it by 2015.
This will be the 12th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup competition and the United States will be the host nation. The Gold Cup is CONCACAF’s premier championship played every 2 years that determines both the Confederation’s champion as well as the team that will represent the region at the FIFAConfederations Cup.