Press Releases

    SG/SM/8334
    12 August 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL APPLAUDS FOOTBALL TEAMS
    FOR SUPPORTING FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS

    No One Is Safe from Epidemic, He Warns

    NEW YORK, 9 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the opening of Real Madrid v. Roma game to benefit the global fight against AIDS:

    I’ll be very brief as I know you are in a hurry to watch the match.

    With all due respect to the Giants and the Jets, I think you’ll agree that tonight Giants Stadium will see what most of the world calls real football!

    The poster for the match today says it all:

    One night, one match, one cause.

    We’re here tonight to watch great athletes in action. We have also come together to support action against an epidemic that is a real threat to all of us: HIV/AIDS. Each and every one of us can help win this fight. We can practice prevention. We can be informed, and inform others. We can be tolerant and we can support all people affected by this plague.

    And a plague it is: Last year alone, 5 million people became infected HIV. That’s 14,000 a day; AIDS killed 3 million people and made 14 million children orphans.

    Make no mistake: no one is safe from the effects of HIV/AIDS. This is a global threat. The United Nations is committed to doing all it can to fight it. If we all join forces, we can win this fight.

    I want to thank Real Madrid for taking the initiative for this match as part of its 100th Anniversary --and the New Jersey Sports and Expositions Authority for making it possible. I want to pay tribute to both Real Madrid and Roma for dedicating a portion of tonight’s proceeds to the United Nations efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

    I want you to enjoy the match -- and remember, whether you support Roma or Real Madrid, they support the fight against AIDS. So should you.

    Enjoy the game. Let the game begin.

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