The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services and new Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League, has announced the signing of one of the hottest strikers in world football, Atlético de Madrid and Colombian international striker, Radamel Falcao.
Falcao will become a global ambassador for Western Union’s “PASS” initiative, which is turning every successful pass in this season’s UEFA Europa League into funding to support one day’s education for young people around the world.
“I was intrigued by Western Union’s PASS initiative and immediately felt a connection,” said Falcao, who has twice won the UEFA Europa League with Porto and Atlético de Madrid, scoring a record 17 goals last season in the competition and is currently providing firepower for Columbia’s push to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“I’ve played most of my professional football career outside of Columbia, but I am still incredibly proud of my home country and welcome the opportunity, through the “PASS” initiative, to raise funding for educational projects across Latin America.”
The “PASS” initiative will provide teacher training and student scholarships through nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), with an initial focus on eleven countries – Brazil, China, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Romania, Russia and Turkey.
To date there have been a total of 83,054 successfully completed passes in this season’s competition, meaning 83,054 days of education have been provided.
Commenting on the signing, Marc Audrit, Global Brand Vice President said: “As well as his exceptional footballing skills, it was Falcao’s ‘story’ that was the key factor behind our decision to sign him as a global ambassador for our “PASS” initiative. Although he was born in Colombia, he has played across the world in Argentina, Portugal and Spain and, like so many of our customers; he has had to make homes away from home.”
“Moving money for better is at the heart of what we do, and education is one of the main reasons our customers send money. According to UNESCO, 71 million bright, hardworking students globally are not enrolled in secondary or vocational education. Through “PASS”, we intend to harness the power of football – and players like Falcao – to build awareness of this challenge as well as deliver on-the-ground support that will make a difference to young people and their communities.”
Falcao joins former international football star, Patrick Vieira, as an ambassador to support the “PASS” Initiative. Both have originated from countries outside of Europe before making their names on the world stage.
For more information on the Western Union “PASS” initiative, and for up to date passing stats on each team and individual in the UEFA Europa League, please visit, www.wu-pass.org.