Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been awarded the Play For Change Media Award

Zlatan Ibrahimović, regarded as one of the best football players of his generation, has been awarded the Play For Change (PFC) Media Award at the inaugural SportAccord Euronews Awards.

Ibrahimović was part of the advertising campaign for the World Food Programme entitled ‘805 million names’ and won the award at the awards ceremony that took place in Sochi on Thursday 23 April.

Addressing the awards ceremony via a recorded message, Ibrahimović said: “I would like to thank SportAccord and PFC sports charity for my media award, for my work with the United Nations World Food Program campaign #805 million names. However it’s not about winning awards it’s about making sure that people know about the 805 million people suffering from hunger and support WFP in their work.”

Daniel Graham of the World Food Programme accepted the award on behalf of Ibrahimović and the WFP. The campaign beat off competition from other nominees, namely ‘Thank you, mom’ by Procter and Gamble; ‘I Will What I want’ by Under Armour and ‘Like a Girl’ by Always.

Andrea Kenyeres, Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships for PFC said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have dedicated our first ‘Play For Change Media Award’ at the SportAccord Euronews Awards to such an inspirational sporting figure -Zlatan Ibrahimović. His commitment to helping the United Nations World Food Program, which extends outside of his football career is outstanding. It is because of his dedication to and the impact of this media campaign that we have awarded Zlatan with our media award this year.”

“We at WFP are extremely honoured to receive this award“, says Marina Catena, Director of the World Food Programme in Paris and initiator of the campaign starring Ibrahimović, together with ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors. “Each one of the 805 million people suffering from hunger in the world has a name, a voice, a story to share. We would like to dedicate the award to all these silent champions”.

The 2015 SportAccord Euronews Awards saw hundreds of personalities gather together to honour the excellence of individuals and entities who have accomplished remarkable achievements and made significant contributions in the world of the International Sports Federations. Other awards presented at the ceremony included the Sportsman of the Year, Sportswoman of the Year, Sport Hero, Sport City of the Year and Spirit of Sport awards.

PFC, the sports charity for vulnerable children, dedicated a new category for the event to recognise the most impactful media campaign of the year. Championing shining examples of creativity, innovation, and commitment to a sporting and educational theme, the SportAccord ‘Play For Change Media Award’ honours the best sports related visual advertisement that has both entertained and inspired, leaving a positive impression on its audience.

The Play for Change Charitable Trust joined forces with SportAccord earlier this year to raise awareness of its charitable mission – to empower children and young people through sports and education as well as to raise funds to invest in life-changing projects around the world.

Andrea goes on to say: “Play For Change are proud to be working with SportAccord who are not only committed to honouring excellence in the sporting world, but also to promoting sport’s ability to contribute to positive change in society. We hope that this is the beginning of continued collaborations. Together we can leave a legacy to those who need it the most, whilst strengthening our international voice and mission to transforming the lives of vulnerable children through sports and education.”

Some of the charity’s milestones include a partnership with a children’s home in Indonesia, which saw the official launch of YKPA Play for Change.

The charity promises a continued winning streak with projects such as the Play For Change school football tournament in partnership with the Belgium Pro League, and ‘Slam Dunk’, the new basketball programme for disadvantaged young girls at Burntwood School in Wandsworth – both projects already positively impacting lives. In addition, PFC have begun a new partnership with ASLOD, a Milan-based local charity that focuses on helping children living with cancer through rehabilitation.