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Ronaldinho to play tsunami benefit match

February 15, 2005 11:30 IST

World Player of the Year Ronaldinho and European Footballer of the Year Andriy Shevchenko will lead two teams at the Nou Camp on Tuesday in a benefit match to raise funds for victims of the Asian tsunami.

The 'Football for Hope' match will feature more than 50 of the world's best known players including Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard will manage Brazilian Ronaldinho's 'World' side and Italy coach Marcello Lippi and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will manage the 'European' team.

Italian Paolo Maldini, German Michael Ballack and France's Thierry Henry will join Frenchman Zidane, England's Beckham and Ukraine's Shevchenko in the European side.

Ronaldinho's World team will include Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast, Brazilian Kaka, Argentina's Javier Zanetti and South Korea's Park Ji-sung.

Italian referee Pierluigi Collina will take control of the match and be assisted by Mohamed Saeed from the Maldives and Jason Joseph Damoo from the Seychelles.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta offered the services of the 98,000 seat Nou Camp for free.

"I was horrified when I saw the disaster on the television. Horrified because it was a tragedy that killed innocent human lives," Laporta told the official website of world body FIFA.

"The scale of it

was so huge, in fact, that it called upon each and every one of us to come together to help in any way we can.

"I think football basically unites people against injustice, unfairness, and racism. Football is a union of players of all colours and creeds and brings people together at the same time, so it is very important to send out a positive message. Football should set an example."


The proceeds from the game, which has been jointly organised by FIFA and European counterpart UEFA, with support from the Spanish FA and Barcelona, will be donated to the FIFA/AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Solidarity Fund, which has been set up in response to the tragedy.

The "Football for Hope" match is just one of a number of major sporting events that have been organised across the world to support victims of the disaster.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) raised more than $11 million for the survivors with a charity match in January and have another planned for April.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) have a game arranged for March 5 at Twickenham, while the Asian and European Tours of Golf have donated around $86,700.

In horse racing the Coolmore stud raised $3.5 million by auctioning the services of their stallions and in the world of tennis top players have auctioned their rackets, and donated their winnings from the Chennai Open.

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