AU eyes soccer in post-conflict reconciliation

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union (AU) will use the launch of the International Year of African Football to promote post- conflict reconstruction and peace-building in countries ravaged by war or emerging from civil conflict, a senior official said here.
According to Bience Gawanas, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, the launch of the programme Sunday would see the pan-African body focus better on the use of sports as a source of employment and unity.
"We will be focusing our energies on countries emerging from conflicts.
Warring groups have been able to sit in the same football stadium and play together in Africa and other regions," Gawanas told a news conference here Wednesday.
Rwanda, Gawanas noted, had effectively utilized community soccer events to unite warring factions and promote reconciliation.
She said the model would be applied also as a means of economic development of the continent.
She said the international football year would be used as a focal point for this year's celebration of the Africa Sports Day on 14 December.
Meanwhile, the AU plans to form a Council of Ministers of Sports to mainstream soccer administration in the continent.
The AU had previously passed a resolution calling for the adoption and the promotion of an ethics code for soccer administrators, but this is yet to be implemented in full.
"We are working together with the Executive Council and we will be holding a series of discussions with African Ministers of sports to work on the guidelines for such a council," Gawanas said.

24 january 2007 17:45:00

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