The Transformative Power of Football

Sports have been instrumental in promoting peace globally and have played a pivotal role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Football, as a prominent global sport, holds a unique position.

Beyond mere recreation, it is a universal language spoken by people of all ages, transcending national, cultural, and socio-economic boundaries. This shared passion fosters a sense of community and national pride.

Football’s broad appeal and accessibility make it a potent tool for promoting health and well-being. It has also served as a vital platform for advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls, both on and off the field.

Moreover, football serves as a catalyst for social inclusion, fostering unity and breaking down barriers between diverse communities. It provides a space where individuals from various backgrounds converge to promote mutual understanding, tolerance, respect, and solidarity.


2024 marks the 100th anniversary of the first international football tournament in history with the representation of all regions, which took place on May 25, 1924, during the summer Olympic games held in Paris.

In recognition of this milestone, on May 7, 2024, the General Assembly passed Resolution A/RES/78/281 proclaiming May 25 as World Football Day.

The resolution acknowledges “the global reach of football and its impact in various spheres, including commerce, peace and diplomacy, and recognizing that football creates a space for cooperation.”

It also recognizes “the fundamental role” of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the important role of regional and national soccer federations, as well as relevant associations, in promoting the game of football.

The resolution encourages all countries to support football and other sports as a tool to promote peace, development and the empowerment of women and girls. And it also encourages countries to adopt policies and programs to promote football and other sports and physical activities.

It invites all member states, organizations of the UN system, international organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector to observe World Football Day in line with national priorities “and to disseminate the advantages of football for all, including through educational and public awareness-raising activities.”

Inspirational quotes from football legends

  • “I have benefited first hand from the power of sports to lead a healthy life and I am committed to working with WHO to share such gains worldwide.” – Didier Drogba, World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health


  • “If you are determined and confident, there is nothing in this great existence that can stop you from achieving what you want.” – Zinedine Zidane, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador


  • “Football unites the world. I want every girl to have the opportunity to be her most determined, accomplished, joyful self.” – Marta Vieira da Silva, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for women and girls in sport


  • “With United, we’d all grown up together, we all wanted to win the biggest trophy in football. We did it togther.” – David Beckham, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador


  • “Football is the only sport where you put people together, it doesn’t matter if you are rich, or poor, or black, or white. It is one nation. This is the beauty of football.” – Pelé, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

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