PASS initiative turns every successful pass in the UEFA Europa League competition into funding for education, contributing to UNICEF’s efforts to enable access for children to one million days of education
LONDON, United-Kingdom, December 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Western Union Company (http://www.westernunion.com/) (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services and a Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League (http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/index.html), today announced that, as the Group Stage in this season’s competition comes to an end, over 250,000 successful passes have been made since the launch of its three-season PASS initiative in September 2012.
With the PASS initiative, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation (http://foundation.westernunion.com/) in collaboration with UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/), are turning every successful pass in the UEFA Europa League into funding for better education, harnessing the power of football to support vulnerable children around the world.
At the end of last season, the PASS fund totaled 178,231 passes, a figure which has now reached 282,568 since the 2013/14 season started on September 19, 2013.
The top 5 clubs/players for passing in the UEFA Europa League 2013/14 season to date are as follows1:
Leading Passing Teams Leading Passing Players
1. Tottenham Hotspur FC (3,673) 1. Mousa Dembélé, Tottenham Hotspur FC (451)
2. Swansea City AFC (3,269) 2. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, AZ Alkmaar (352)
3. AZ Alkmaar (2,663) 3. Thanos Petsos, SK Rapid Wien (346)
4. Valencia CF (2,651) 4. Alexandros Tziolis, PAOK FC (340)
5. PSV Eindhoven (2,532) 5. Jan Wuytens, AZ Alkmaar (337)
In September, Western Union announced that Jamaica, Nigeria and Turkey were the first countries to receive funding raised by the PASS initiative. In Jamaica, PASS is supporting UNICEF programs aiming to achieve high levels of attendance, retention, numeracy and literacy among secondary school children with a focus on adolescent boys. In Nigeria, Western Union is helping increase the number of qualified female teachers and, in turn, the enrollment of female students, contributing to UNICEF’s efforts to meet the country’s need for 1.3 million more2 qualified teachers in the country. In Turkey, funding raised by the PASS initiative is being used to ensure disadvantaged children and ethnic minorities have access to a quality secondary education, with a focus on rural and low income areas where only 30 percent of children attend secondary school.
As part of Western Union’s three-year partnership with UNICEF, Brazil will be a future recipient of funding from the PASS initiative.
Brazilian International and Tottenham Hotspur FC midfielder, Sandro Raniere said: “The Western Union PASS scheme means a lot to me because we can help children go to school, and children in Brazil need this help as some children are very poor”.
“It means a lot to me also because I am from Brazil so I can help children from my home country and around the world. I’m so happy on the pitch doing my job and helping people around the world. Tottenham are the highest passing team this season and that is amazing – I feel great, helping people, it’s amazing”.
Patrick Gaston, president of The Western Union Foundation, commented: “Since the PASS initiative commenced in September 2012, we have experienced an outstanding level of support from players, fans and customers, which has been instrumental in allowing us to not only use the power and reach of football to build awareness of the global education challenge, but to also start to make a real difference to young people and their communities. PASS is a key part of Western Union’s Education for Better campaign for secondary and vocational education, and it is fantastic to see the positive impact funding from this initiative is making in the countries that need it most.”
1 UEFA Europa League pass statistics provided by Opta
2 Nigerian National Commission for Colleges of Education Executive Secretary Prof. Muhammed Junaid, as reported by the News Agency of Nigerian September 2012