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04.12.2008 15:28

“The start of a grand project”

Jordi Clos

MÉS, an alliance between FC Barcelona, NIKE and ACNUR, was presented on Thursday in Sala Paris as “the start of a grand project”. Representatives of the three partners congratulated each other on this standard-setting initiative.

Thursday December 4 of 2008 will be a landmark date in Barça history, for this was the day that Sala París was the venue for the unveiling of the MÉS project, an alliance between FC Barcelona, NIKE and ACNUR (UNHCR) to promote the education through sport of vulnerable young people and refugees around the world. It signifies yet another step forward in the Catalan club’s stance as ‘more than a club in the world’. According to president Joan Laporta, “it is the start of a grand project. We understand sport to be culture and through it we can help a lot of people.”

Global charity project

QM3D2581.jpgThe agreement was outlined by Barça president, Joan Laporta; by Bert Hoyt, vice president and general manager of NIKE’s Global Football and by Olivier Delarue, senior corporate relations officer of the ACNUR (UNHCR) Foundation. Laporta spoke first, saying “a year ago we set up a project for refugees in Ecuador, Nepal and Bolivia, and that got us thinking.”

The word MÉS

Laporta pointed out that the club “is a pioneer in solidarity affairs” and after thanking NIKE and ACNUR for their confidence, said that “as president of Barça and a Catalan I am especially proud that the chosen word is in the Catalan language and is taken from ‘Més que un club'. On a similar subject, NIKE executive Bert Hoyt said “we followed FC Barcelona’s orders on the matter and it is only natural to follow their leadership.”

Sport and children

Hoyt also described the multinational’s role in the project. “It will consist of creating a line of products to raise funds that will be launched around the world over the forthcoming weeks … We believe that sport can help a lot of children and we defend sport.” He then handed over to ACNUR representative Olivier Delarue, who said “it is a great opportunity for children that have been forced out of their countries. Without funding we cannot improve their futures.”

ACNUR-FCB: A story of love

QM3D2590.jpgAsked by the many members of the media attending the event to explain why ACNUR has joined forces with FC Barcelona, Hoyt said “it is a story of love and you don’t choose the person you love. We know we have to keep on working together because we have common causes with a club that works in association with UNICEF and UNESCO.

To end the presentation, the three representatives were the first people to buy the pins commemorating the MÉS project, one of the many items of merchandising associated to the initiative.
“The start of a grand project”
Pro teams represented
Several members of the first team made sure of attending the event, including soccer coach Pep Guardiola and four of his players: Touré Yaya, Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué and Bojan Krkic.

It was not only footballers who were there. The event was also attended by Joan Creus, Xavi Pascual, Roger Grimau, Juan Carlos Navarro and Jordi Trias, of Regal Barça; Xavi O'Callaghan, Manolo Cadenas, David Barrufet and Juanín García, of Barça Borges; Quimo Paüls, Alberto Borregán and Aitor Egurrola, del Barça Sorli Discau, and Marc Carmona, Javi Rodríguez, Chico and Juan Carlos, of Barça Mobicat.

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