ECA Media Release

Through the European Club Association's (ECA) charity initiative "90 MINUTES FOR HOPE", European clubs have raised EUR 1.3 million to support child refugees in Europe. The money will benefit Save the Children and UNICEF's responses to the European refugee crisis.

As part of an initiative called "90 MINUTES FOR HOPE", the European Club Association asked the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League Group Stage participants to donate EUR 1 for every ticket sold during their first European home match. ECA's pan-European campaign involving clubs from across the continent is the first of its kind and complements the many projects already undertaken by clubs individually at local, regional and national level. The initiative raised EUR 1.3 million. The money will benefit Save the Children and UNICEF's responses to the European refugee crisis.

Children and families forced to sleep outdoors - even in winter
Today, the world is facing a refugee crisis without precedent. More than 870 000 refugees have arrived in Europe in 2015 alone. 20% of those arriving are children - children who are deeply disturbed from their long and dangerous journeys, and who sometimes arrive unaccompanied. Many European countries where thousands of refugees arrive every day, urgently need help in providing adequate shelter, care and protection. Reception facilities are overcrowded, forcing families to sleep outdoors or in flimsy tents and unfinished buildings. The sanitary conditions are precarious with the risk for infections especially high for pregnant women and young children. With the onset of winter, the situation for refugee families is ever worsening.

Commenting on the current refugee crisis, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said:

     "As important stakeholders within society, we cannot close our eyes to the dramatic scenes currently affecting the lives of many children. We are proud to see many European clubs joining our "90 MINUTES FOR HOPE" campaign and are very pleased to donate the money raised to Save the Children and UNICEF, two organisations tirelessly working to support desperate refugee children and their families in Europe these days."

Save the Children and UNICEF highly appreciate the European clubs' support, which will enable both organisations to reach out to even more children in need. Save the Children and UNICEF will allocate the funds to programmes across Europe, both in countries where children are on the move and in countries of final destination. Their support includes but is not limited to:

  • Distribution of winterization goods such as blankets and winter clothes (while extending protection to children and their families all along their journey)
  • Establishment of child friendly spaces and provision of recreational and educational activities for refugee children, helping them regain a certain degree of normality
  • Construction of special shelters for unaccompanied minors and for mothers and their children
  • Provision of dignity and baby kits, supplementary feeding and other supplies for populations on the move
  • Provision of water and sanitation in reception centres or holding areas and public health information
  • Provision of psychological support, and medical and legal assistance
  • Technical assistance to strengthen family tracing and reunification efforts and implementation of best interest determinations
  • Technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of front line workers, including health workers, social workers and NGO staff