FC Barcelona and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, kicked off their partnership today with the launch of a new football jersey and a pledge to support sports initiatives for refugee children on four continents.
UNHCR’s logo is featured for the first time on the new FC Barcelona men’s and women’s first team jerseys. The jersey, part of FC Barcelona’s new kit for the 2022-23 season, serves as a message of solidarity with more than 100 million people who have been forced to flee their homes.
The partnership will span over the next four football seasons and is a collaboration between UNHCR, its National Association in Spain – ACNUR Comité español, FC Barcelona and the FC Barcelona Foundation.
The aim of the partnership is to bring the refugee cause to football fans around the world, while the projects that FC Barcelona Foundation will support are geared towards giving refugee children opportunities to develop essential skills needed to enable them to reach their full potential.
During the launch event at UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva, FC Barcelona, the FC Barcelona Foundation, UNHCR, and ACNUR Comité español said they hoped their global partnership would act as a catalyst for change, and that others in the football community and the wider sports industry would feel compelled to do more to help improve the lives of people forced to flee.
President of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta said during the unveiling of the jersey in Geneva: “The agreement forms part of the priorities that FC Barcelona and its Foundation have defined for this new phase of the Club that I have the privilege of presiding over, to focus on the problem of refugees around the world. At our organisation we understand that our commitment is to make the dreams of the most vulnerable become a reality, based on the belief that all children and young people have the right to the same opportunities”.
Director of FC Barcelona Foundation, Marta Segu, said: “At FC Barcelona we have a social conscience, because we understand that football and sports, with their values of effort, discipline, sacrifice and teamwork, are ideal tools for educating our societies.”
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said: “Football brings joy to billions of fans around the world. It also provides a transformational outlet for millions of refugee children each day as it promotes positive mental and physical wellbeing, builds confidence and skills, helps keep children in school, and empowers women and girls.
Football also has the power to bring together all those who love the beautiful game, no matter their background or circumstance, including refugees.
I’m therefore thrilled that FC Barcelona has decided to partner with UNHCR to send such a strong message of solidarity to refugees around the world. No matter your favorite team, FC Barcelona and UNHCR stand with and support the more than 100 million people around the world who have been forced from their homes.”
The FC Barcelona Foundation is contributing €400,000 per season towards four UNHCR projects in Colombia, Uganda, Türkiye and Malaysia (€100,000 per project). In addition, it will make in-kind donations (valued at €100,000 per season) of FC Barcelona sporting equipment, as well as offering the experience and knowledge of the foundation’s sports experts.
The range of projects include the strengthening of protective environments for children and young people affected by armed conflict in Colombia; support for a protection and gender-based violence programme in Malaysia, to a sports for peace and protection project in support of refugees and host community youth at the Nakivale and Oruchinga Refugee Settlements in Uganda.