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Sunday, March 05, 2006

UNICEF-United Press Release

UNICEF press release on McClair and N'Galula trip

Returning from a trip to Thailand to see UNICEF's work for children, Manchester United's new youth coach Brian McClair stressed the value of educating young players on global issues as part of their personal development.

McClair was accompanied by 18 year old professional player Floribert N'Galula who will now formally report back on his experiences to other young players at the Academy. The pair travelled to Bangkok and Phuket on a three-day briefing trip with UNICEF, Manchester United's global charity partner.

McClair and N'Galula met with children affected by exploitation such as trafficking and abuse, and those whose lives have been affected by the tsunami - all areas of UNICEF's work that Manchester United has funded through the six year United for UNICEF partnership.

At the time of the tsunami, Manchester United raised over £150,000 to support UNICEF's work for children and families in tsunami affected countries including Thailand. Within just a few days Rio Ferdinand, (to include names of players) came together to produce a global TV appeal for UNICEF's work. Several of the first team players have seen UNICEF's work in the field whilst on tour or on awareness raising trips. Ryan Giggs, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Wes Brown were part of a group who visited a shelter for girl victims of abuse in Thailand 2001.

Focusing on the impact of Manchester United's community work on the players - McClair highlighted the far-reaching benefits of the partnership with UNICEF in the personal development of the players. McClair said "Getting involved in Manchester United's community work - whether as far a field as Thailand or as local as Manchester, helps to reinforce the players' sense of perspective and create rounded players who are focused on the realities of life. I have always wanted to see the work that UNICEF does in the field - when this trip came up there was no question of not taking one of the young players along."

Speaking of his experience on the trip Floribert N'Galula added: "Even though the media have long gone after the tsunami, UNICEF is still here and is doing great work. If I become a big player I really want to help more and definitely want to come back here. Having seen all this with my own eyes, I know the money that Manchester United has sent to Thailand through UNICEF is really helping people, including Thai fans of the club. Everyone at United should be really proud of what they have done through the United for UNICEF partnership. If we keep on working together, I am sure that one day all these children will have a better life."

United for UNICEF is the longest collaboration between a premiership football club and a global charity. Since 1999, Manchester United has raised £1.75 million for UNICEF's work with children. For the next four years Manchester United will focus on raising funds for UNICEF's children and AIDS campaign, as well as always being on hand for children affected by emergencies like the tsunami.


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