UN puts tie-ups with Fifa under scrutiny

[United Nations, UNITED STATES] The United Nations is taking a close look at its partnerships with Fifa following allegations of widespread corruption at football's world governing body, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

"We are very much taking a look at the existing partnerships and how the situation evolves," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, a day after the scandal erupted.

The UN and Fifa have tie-ups to promote health, gender equality and child protection.

The various campaigns and programmes that have existed between the UN and Fifa since 1999 include initiatives designed to help alleviate poverty, further human rights and tackle environmental problems.

"The UN has had a number of different kinds of one-time partnerships with FIFA for the World Cup and other events with UN agencies," added Mr Dujarric.

He cautioned that the investigation into allegations of huge bribery and graft at Fifa was still in its "early days."

The partnerships, which were all undertaken on a voluntary basis, were focused on making the UN's message of peace "seen and heard within these major sports events," he added.

Authorities in the US, which is leading the investigation into alleged wrongdoing at Fifa, had not been in contact with the UN, Mr Dujarric added.

UN officials said it was too early to say whether UN agencies will reconsider their partnerships.

Fifa has partnered with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) since 2003 to hold the annual Match Against Poverty which has brought together Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and other football legends.

The friendly matches have raised more than US$4 million dollars in funds for development projects, with proceeds from the last game held in April used to help countries recovering from the Ebola epidemic.

The UN children's agency Unicef has also worked with Fifa during the past three World Cup tournaments.

For the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Unicef launched an app that allows users to report cases of abuse, violence or exploitation of children.



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