Figo, Cannavaro roped in for Match Against Poverty to aid Philippines

Football stars have accepted the invitation of Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo to join the 11th edition of the annual event, which aims to help Typhoon Haiyan victims this time
Luis Figo, Fabio Cannavaro, Deco, Pavel Nedved, Roberto Carlos, Fernando Hierro and Patrick Vieira. These are some of the football stars who will take part in the 11th Annual Match Against Poverty this year, which aims to help Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.

The Fifa-supported event will be held at the Stade de Suisse National Stadium in Bern, Switzerland on March 4, with proceeds going towards recovery efforts in the Southeast Asian nation, which was hit by one of the most powerful storms on record on November 8 last year.

This is the latest in a series of initiatives from the footballing world, with the Asean Football Federation set to organise a game between the Azkals and an Asean All-Stars team in late March or April. Singapore also hosted a Under-23 friendly in December last year to raise funds.

The stars accepted the invitation of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassadors Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo to play in the game, which will be refereed by the renowed Pierluigi Collina.

They will be playing in the Ronaldo, Zidane & Friends team, while former and current players of Swiss club BSC Young Boys will comprise the Young Boys & Friends team, including Swiss legend and Champions League winner Stephane Chapuisat.

"I would be delighted to see the stands full of people so we could celebrate football together in the fight against poverty," Figo told the official Fifa website. 

“Football speaks a universal language and we need to take advantage of this to appeal for the reconstruction of the Philippines,” Vieira added.

"The fight against poverty must be constant and I'm very happy if I can contribute to it through football," said Cannavaro, who considers the fight against poverty a priority.

UNDP will receive two thirds of the match proceeds for recovery efforts in the Philippines. More than 5,000 people lost their lives to Typhoon Haiyan, with 11.8 million people affected and 995,000 still displaced. The remaining third will be donated by Young Boys to their partner charity, the Laureus Foundation Switzerland, to support sports-related projects.

An initial list of players confirmed also include Ronald de Boer, Steve McManaman, Robert Pires, Claude Makelele, Youri Djorkaeff, Jens Lehmann, Gaizka Mendieta, Fernando Hierro, Michel Salgado, Paulo Sousa.

The match will be televised globally and will start at 8p.m local time.

The Match Against Poverty has been organised on an annual basis since 2003 at the initiative of football legends Zidane and Ronaldo to raise awareness and mobilise public opinion for UNDP's Millennium Development Goals, which seek to halve world poverty by 2015.

The objective is to raise funds to support specific development projects selected by UNDP and each year, funds raised are used to support specific projects in different countries facing difficult challenges, as stated on the UNDP website.