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The 2010 FIFA World Cup – From Acorn To Oak

The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ adventure began for nine Oceanian associations in August. The start of the preliminary competition for the 19th FIFA World Cup™ may well have taken place away from the glare of the media spotlight, but for everyone involved it would have been a moment to remember and treasure. That is particularly true for New Caledonia, an association that has been a member of FIFA for just three years. They are competing in World Cup qualifiers for the first time, having won this year’s South Pacific Games, an event that serves as a qualifying tournament for the World Cup preliminary competition.
The South Ametican qualifiers have also just got underway, and on 25 November, the rest of the world will learn their fate with the preliminary draw in Durban determining where and when teams will play in their quest for one of the prized tickets for the final competition. Players from all around the world – whether from an island in Oceania or from one of the more established football nations – will be united in their goal of being part of football’s biggest event when it kicks off in Soccer City on 11 June 2010.
It is often said that the mightiest oaks grow from the smallest acorns, and that the whole is greater than the sum of its many parts. The FIFA World Cup™ is an event intended for and belonging to the entire world. The income generated at the World Cup that will once again turn the entire globe into a football over the next few years will enable FIFA to do so much more than simply develop the game and touch the world, as it will also – as our slogan promises – help us to build a better future.
FIFA supports more than 60 programmes in 40 countries through the Football for Hope movement, the key element of a strategic alliance led by FIFA and the streetfootballworld organisation to build a better future. Streetfootballworld is the driving force behind a global network of non-governmental organisations, creating programmes that use football as a focal point. Take Escuelas Deporte y Vida for example, an institution that helps to develop and spread the South American philosophy of futbol callejero, or street football, across Peru. Thanks to this programme, disadvantaged children and youngsters can use football to find new motivation to learn at school, which in turn ensures that children are reintegrated into the educational system and develop into strong personalities who are accepted in their own neighbourhoods. This issue of FIFA magazine contains a selection of stunning shots from all around the world that underline the versatility and immense value of street football.
And so we have come full circle. Our sport and its popularity depend on players who all had to start somewhere, more often than not by kicking a ball around on a street before one day becoming stars. Football is a game for everyone. Making sure that that continues to be so is one of FIFA’s main priorities. For the Game. For the World.