Legendary six-time World Referee winner Pierluigi Collina along with international football stars Luis Figo and Pavel Nedved are among the personalities that confirmed their participation in the 9th annual Match Against Poverty, set for 13 December 2011. The "Ronaldo, Zidane, and Friends vs. HSV All Stars" match, which kicks off at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany, at 19:05, will channel funds into bolstering recovery efforts for the ongoing crisis in the Horn of Africa.
Presiding over the match for eight editions out of nine will be Italian legendary referee Pierluigi Collina. "Everyone, players and referees, is looking forward to a great football match in Hamburg for an important cause - the famine crisis in the Horn of Africa and the fight against poverty. I am sure it will be a very enjoyable evening for all the people who will join us at the stadium that I am sure will be full, as it is crucial that we raise the maximum amount of money possible to combat one of the most serious problems in the world today", said Collina. Luis Figo and Pavel Nedved have also answered the call confirming their participation. Both have already played the 7th Match Against Poverty which was held in Lisbon, Portugal, in January 2010.
The UNDP will receive two thirds of the match proceeds which will be used to support humanitarian and recovery activities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The UN is working in these countries to provide emergency food aid, water, shelter, and health services, while working on longer-term development plans. Hamburger SV, which hosts the event, will donate the remaining 33 percent of the event's profits to the club's initiative, The Hamburg Way, to support diverse community development projects focused on sports, youth, education, and protection of the environment. As in previous years, the Goodwill Ambassadors will mobilize their team from across Europe to take on an all-star team from Hamburger SV in a friendly match.
The star-studded array of players keeps on filling up with football superstars such as Fernando Hierro (Spain), Gheorghe Popescu or Gheorghe Hagi (Romania). Also to be present are Sami Al Jaber (Saudi Arabia), Steve McManaman (England), Rabah Madjer (Algeria), Dida and Serginho (Brazil), Pauleta and Fernando Couto (Portugal), Claude Makelele and Robert Pires (France), and Lucas Radebe (South Africa). More top international names are expected to confirm in the coming days.