23 October 2009
The United Nations has endorsed the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa™ as a platform for peace and development across Africa, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon saying the event has the power to change the world’s perception of the continent.
Meeting in New York on Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the World Cup as a platform for social development and peace across Africa.
And in a meeting with Danny Jordaan, chief executive of South Africa’s 2010 Organising Committee, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged South Africa to seize the powerful opportunity afforded by the event to change the world’s perception of Africa.
“There is great power in this,” Ban said, adding: “It is a time to present a different story of the African continent – a story of peace, democracy and investment.”
The UN secretary-general fondly recalled his native Korea Republic co-hosting Asia’s first football World Cup with Japan in 2002, saying the tournament went far beyond the 90 minutes on the pitch, reaching to every corner of the globe.
Noting the past conflicts in his own country, he said the game of football in particular, above all other sports, unified people and built solidarity – something he believed would be the case when South Africa hosted the World Cup in June and July 2010.
“The World Cup is a dream that began in 1994, the first year of our democracy, and is part of our ongoing efforts as a nation to build unity in our country,” Jordaan told the secretary-general.
Jordaan thanked Ban for helping South Africa to take football’s message of hope to the world. “More than ever, we are beginning to see the legacy of this event take shape, and it is given more impact and impetus to have the endorsement of all 192 member states of the General Assembly.
“Peace is not just the absence of war. Peace is creating circumstances that create hope,” Jordaan said, noting that South Africa’s World Cup would help to change the circumstances of many people through its social legacy projects, job creation, and advancements in telecommunications and infrastructure.
Jordaan invited Ban to attend the World Cup, telling journalists at a function held later in the day at the South African Consulate in New York that the UN chief should visit the continent not only in times of war.
“He must come to Africa when Africa celebrates, when Africa excels,” Jordaan said.