Coca-Cola Partners With Special Olympics To Host First-Ever "Unity Cup"
Football Match Showcasing Athletes With and Without Intellectual Disabilities To Be Played During 2010 FIFA World Cup® South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Special Olympics athletes, playing alongside football legends and other celebrities, will compete in the inaugural match of the “Unity Cup” presented by Coca-Cola, on the same pitch that just hours later will host a FIFA World Cup™ match. The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with Special Olympics, today announced details of the event which will take place at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 3, prior to a quarterfinal match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The goal of the Unity Cup is to support the movement of inclusion and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities and is an extension of the Special Olympics Unified Sports® program. The Unified Sports program brings Special Olympic athletes together with partners without intellectual disabilities on teams for friendly athletic competition. Participants in the Unity Cup will include South African President Jacob Zuma, former South African national team captain Lucas Radebe, former captain of South Africa’s national women’s football team Desiree Ellis, and Clarence Seedorf of A.C. Milan.
“We have a long and unique association with sport, especially football, and have witnessed over the decades how it can unite people,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company and a member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors. “The Unity Cup is a testament to that power as we have brought together our partners at Special Olympics and FIFA to shine a spotlight on the important values of understanding, acceptance and inclusion that we all share.”
Since the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, The Coca-Cola Company has been an Official Global Partner. Coca-Cola supports the movement through financial and in-kind support, marketing expertise and hands-on volunteer work in an effort to showcase the dignity and capacity of people with intellectual disabilities on a global stage.
“The Unity Cup is an incredible opportunity to showcase the abilities of our Special Olympics athletes on a world stage,” said Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Timothy Shriver. “The Unified Sports experience benefits not only our athletes but also the partners involved without disabilities as we promote a global community of inclusion and acceptance. Thanks to our global partner Coca-Cola, while the world’s attention is focused on football, we can continue to share the message that sport is a powerful agent to bring together people from all walks of life.”
Special Olympics South Africa, accredited by Special Olympics, Inc. in 1991, conducts more than 700 local competitions annually with more than 22,000 athletes participating. The South African organization has sent athletes to compete in every international Special Olympics World Games since 1993. In 2009, Special Olympics South Africa hosted a national Unified Sports Football Competition for 10 teams from five provinces.
The Coca-Cola Company is a FIFA Partner and has had a formal association with the governing body for world football since 1974 and has been an official sponsor of every FIFA World Cup since 1978. Coca-Cola has had stadium advertising at every FIFA World Cup since 1950 and is a long-time supporter of football at all levels, from grassroots to the FIFA World Cup™.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Together with Coca-Cola®, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company’s portfolio includes 14 billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke®, Fanta®, Sprite®, Coca-Cola Zero®, vitaminwater, Powerade®, Minute Maid®, Simply® and Georgia® Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world‟s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.1 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.
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