Year of African Football leads to World Cup 2010

The African Union has declared 2007 to be the International Year of African Football (IYoAF) to kick start 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and the 50th Anniversary of the Confederation of the African Football. Dr Djibril Diallo, Director of the United Nations New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), represented the sport-related activities of the agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations system at this historic launch in the presence of Heads of State and Government and leaders of 53 Member States of the African Union.

This year will see a rolling program of activities in AU Member States with a view to sharing the pride that a FIFA global event will be held for the first time on their continent. The initiatives are meant to create a new consciousness with regard to the contribution of football, and sport in general, at the national level and in local communities to support AU programs especially in the areas of education, health, development and peace.

UNOSDP, under the leadership of Adolf Ogi, the former President of Switzerland and the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for Sport for Development and Peace, is the key UN entity representing sport for development and peace on behalf of the UN system. Hence the collaboration with the AU for IYoAf falls within the purview of the new United Nations three-year Action Plan, which was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly on 3 November 2006 by its resolution A/61/10 cosponsored by 78 countries. The IYoAF will be a key component and context for the Action Plan for the African region.

Initiatives that will be launched in consultation with AU through the various country offices of the United Nations in the coming three years, making for a breakthrough in the concept of Sport for All. These will go beyond the game of football to include other sports as well to bring about long lasting benefits for the continent. Partners and stakeholders will be mobilised to make this collaborative venture between the AU, UN, Member States, the public sector, academia, media and representatives of civil society, who will be empowered by their youth.