United Nations, World Football Day
Taher M. El-Sonni, permanent representative of the State of Libya to the United Nations, introduced the draft resolution on World Football Day Via media.un.org

SEATTLE - Whether you call it football or soccer, you will now have an official date to celebrate your passion for the beautiful game after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on proclaiming May 25 as "World Football Day."

The date is not random: it was chosen as a way to commemorate the anniversary of the the start of the 1924 Olympic Games held in Paris, the first international football -or soccer- tournament that had representation from all corners of the world.

The resolution passed by consensus and was co-sponsored by more than 160 countries. It was introduced to the UN assembly by Libya's Taher El-Sonni. The resolution seeks to use the sport as a vehicle to build a more peaceful and better world.

El-Sonni also mentioned that because of soccer's popularity around the world, it serves as "a universal language spoken across the globe, cutting across national, cultural and socioeconomic barriers."

The Libyan representative also added that the game has become a pivotal platform championing gender equality and social inclusion. "A common ground where individuals from varying backgrounds converge, promoting mutual understanding, tolerance, respect and solidarity," he said.

Almost 100 years ago, 22 teams competed in the first-ever football -or soccer- international tournament. Such event included teams from Europe, the Americas and even one representative from Africa.

In a single-elimination format, Uruguay became the first team to win an international tournament after defeating Switzerland 3-0 in the final. They outscored their opponents 20-2 during their run to the gold medal. Four years later, four Latin American countries participated in the second international tournament, which was also won by Uruguay after defeating Argentina at the 1928 Amsterdam Games.

Just a few days ago, FIFA president Gianni Infantino spoke at the 27th Annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, California, and talked about how women's soccer has led the way in growing the sport in the United States.

"We want to show to the kids here who play soccer, when they are at school or when they are very young, that there is a path in soccer to glory, to become one of these world stars," Infantino said.

For the past few years, FIFA has centered their efforts into making the game available to everyone, bridging the gap between men's and women's soccer. Last year, the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup offered a total package of $152 million to the participating teams, an investment three-times bigger than the one offered during the 2019 Women's World Cup.

Infantino's ultimate aim is to have an even distribution of payments for the men's and women's World Cups in 2026 and 2027, respectively.

The UN's resolution encourages all countries to do continue bridging the gap and using sports as a tool to promote peace, development and the empowerment of women and girls.

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