Football gets its annual day of celebration officially recognised by the UN

posted in: Events, News

May 25 is to become an annual global celebration of football after a United Nations resolution to officially declare it World Football Day.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has thanked the United Nations for the “historic” World Football Day resolution, which was initiated by Bahrain, Libya and Tajikistan and subsequently unanimously adopted by 170 nations at the General Assembly in May 2024.

Such support at a global scale is a testament to the unifying power of football, the world’s most popular sport, and its ability to bring people and nations together.

As per UN resolution A/RES/78/281, the annual World Football Day on May 25 was declared to acknowledge “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”.

The resolution was proposed to mark the centenary of the 1924 Olympic Football Tournament in Paris, France, as “the first international football tournament in history with the representation of all regions”.

The date also coincides with the decision at the 17th FIFA Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1928 to create the FIFA World Cup™.

To mark the passing of the resolution at the UN headquarters in New York, FIFA president Gianni Infantino delivered a statement to a gathering of member states representatives and UN officials which proposed to extend the celebration of the beautiful game.

Infantino called to launch the World Football Week to mark a number of significant milestones during May, kicking off with the recognition of the founding of FIFA in Paris on May 21, 1904, and continuing the football festivities until May 25.

This proposal was subsequently supported by Dennis Francis, the president of the United Nations General Assembly at its 78th Session, and the Group of Friends of Football.

“I think it says everything about the unique power of football to unite the world that the resolution put forward by Bahrain, Libya and Tajikistan, co-sponsored by 170 countries, and so well supported by the President of the General Assembly, my dear friend Dennis Francis, was adopted by consensus by all member states,” the FIFA president stated via video message.

“I can only congratulate you, you all on this historic decision. Football truly unites the world! And also the United Nations!”

“But to celebrate the sport we all love, and the milestones in the beautiful game that happened during these days in May, I was thinking that – with respect – perhaps one day is not enough,” Infantino said.

“So, with your support, and to give as many opportunities for as many people as possible around the world, FIFA would like to declare the World Football Week, from May 21 to May 25, with football uniting the world in joy and peace every year. It will be a week to show our love for football, to play it, to watch it, to enjoy it, to win or to lose, together, and I am really looking forward to celebrating World Football Week with all of you, ending with a global football party on World Football Day.”

Also, FIFA World Cup winners Marco Tardelli and Gianluigi Buffon together with former France international Laura Georges lent their support to the resolution via video messages, as did Francis along with other senior UN officials, and a number of UN delegates from across the globe, all of whom delivered their respective speeches wearing the national-team shirt of their respective country.

The Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain, His Excellency Jamal Fares Alrowaiei, said on behalf of the co-facilitators of the resolution – Bahrain, Libya and Tajikistan – that such had been the support for the World Football Day initiative that UN members would be invited to join a newly established Group of Friends of Football, and he gave a positive response to the FIFA president’s proposal.

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