Following the devastating earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria, the European Club Association (ECA) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have agreed on a new partnership agreement.
ECA Chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, Cédric Anker, President of Switzerland for UNHCR, Cristina Davies, Executive Director of Switzerland for UNHCR, and Philippe Leclerc, the Representative of UNHCR in Türkiye formally announced the partnership today (10 June 2023) at a signing ceremony in Istanbul, at the ECA Executive Board Meeting. As part of the agreement ECA is donating €500,000 to the UNHCR to help support the survivors of those affected by the devastating earthquakes.
ECA Members had agreed at their Board meeting in March, to advance €500,000 from its 2022/23 budget for the upcoming ECA Foundation towards humanitarian aid relief projects following the aftermaths of the disaster.
ECA’s Administration together with its Relief Funding Committee engaged with Turkish club representatives and the Turkish Union of Clubs, under the supervision of ECA Board Member Mr. Ali Y. Koç, to partner with UNHCR.
“ECA Chairman. Nasser Al-Khelaïfi has genuinely been providing both financial and moral support to our fellow citizens affected by the earthquakes in the eastern part of our country, since the moment this devastating natural disaster occurred.” said Mr. Ali Y. Koç, ECA Executive Board Member.
He added: “Furthermore, all of the esteemed ECA Member Clubs have demonstrated their dedication by providing financial assistance as well as contributing signed jerseys, which were subsequently auctioned for the recovery efforts in the affected area. On behalf of our country, we would like to express our gratitude to ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and all the ECA Member Clubs for leading these efforts.”
The unity and support of the European clubs is further displayed through the 175 clubs who are contributing 200 shirts to an online auction which will add significant further funds to the already-pledged donation of €500,000 after it closes on 17 June.
ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said:
“Football is much more than a sport, it is about making a positive difference in society and the world we all share. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. The entire ECA family has been working hard to raise awareness and further funds for the UNHCR to help the relief efforts. I would like to thank our board member Ali Koç and the Turkish Union of Clubs for their wholehearted commitment and joint efforts during this crisis.”
The Representative of UNHCR in Türkiye Philippe Leclerc said:
“This renewed act of solidarity by ECA will enable UNHCR to provide very needed support to those deeply affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to leveraging our platform and resources to make a lasting impact in communities impacted by the earthquake. We understand the importance of standing together and providing assistance to those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.”
As the leading global organisation mandated to protect and assist refugees and stateless people, UNHCR has an experience of over seven decades of safeguarding the rights and well-being of refugees, other forcibly displaced people and stateless persons around the globe and has been working tirelessly to provide assistance to those affected by the devastating earthquakes.
ECA is the sole independent body directly representing football clubs at European level with a membership base of more than 240 professional football clubs from across the continent. In addition, the ECA Network provides advisory services to around a further 100 professional clubs. As the representative voice of European club football on the international football landscape, ECA works closely with football’s governing bodies, competition organisers and other professional stakeholders to place the clubs at the ‘Heart of Football’.
ECA is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA as the sole, independent body for football clubs at European level. Since its inception in 2008, ECA has represented and created value for its membership and beyond, safeguarding, strengthening, and developing European clubs’ interests as the key club stakeholder in all international football affairs and decision-making.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. This global organisation delivers life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, helps safeguard fundamental human rights, and develops solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also works to ensure that stateless people are granted nationality.