FIFA, world soccer's governing body, and the European Union signed a joint agreement yesterday to use football in the fight against poverty in the world's poorest countries.
The agreement, known as the Memorandum of Understanding, aims to promote development in the poorest countries of Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.
The EU and FIFA will pour 25 billion euros ($31.93 billion) into the so-called ACP countries over the next four years ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said at a press briefing in Berlin: "The idea is to use the huge power of football for specific purposes such as fighting Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, helping in growth and development, fighting racism, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination and helping with post-conflict reconstruction and nation-building."
The agreement was signed by Louis Michel, the Commission for Development and Humanitarian Aid and Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA.
Michel added: "We are not giving the money so that people can play football, people will play football whether they have money or not.
"What we are doing is using the power of football to realise projects in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions."