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Old 26-05-2007, 15:06   #56
Passion for *9*
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Chelsea Football Club is embarking on our first humanitarian visit to Africa with our Global Charity Partner, Right To Play.

Manager Josť Mourinho, Chelsea FC Player of the Year and Ghanaian international Michael Essien and several young players will be in Ghana from May 29 until June 3 to visit projects run by Right To Play.

The visit is the first major initiative in the six-year partnership announced between Chelsea and Right To Play at the House of Commons in January 2007. Chelsea will also be bringing several coaches on the trip, headed by Academy manager Neil Bath.

Chelsea will be conducting play sessions for children in Accra and Tamale as well as holding coaching demonstrations for the Right To Play coaches who are integral to the charity's purpose of raising awareness about disease, war and poverty through sport.

Mourinho said: 'Everyone at the club is fully behind the work of Right To Play and we are all proud to support them. I'm sure our relationship will benefit thousands of kids throughout the world, starting with this visit to Ghana.

'Sport, particularly football, has a certain power. It is a world language, something where cultural difference does not matter. If you are in London, Lisbon or Accra, if you put down two pieces of clothing for a goal and wrap some paper into a ball and start to kick it, everyone knows what you are doing, there is no need to explain it.

'Because it is the world language you can reach everybody and if you have a big status in the game you have a big responsibility to use that power properly. And what better way to use it than for kids around the world to be healthier, fitter, fight disease, war, poverty. Football can and should help with this. It also reminds you that there are more important things than football.'

Essien, who is one of the Chelsea/Right To Play Ambassadors, added: 'As a Chelsea and Ghana player it is great to make a commitment to helping children in Africa and other areas of the world. I am particularly looking forward to getting involved in my home country.'

Chelsea chose Right To Play as our Global Charity Partner because of its approach to global citizenship. It is also a "recognised organisation" by the International Olympic Committee.

It works not only with disadvantaged communities and countries around the world but also with those who can use their position in society to become advocates of the charity's aims and raise awareness about them by using the positive power of sport.

Chris Robinson, Right To Play's UK Director, said: 'It shows how serious Chelsea are about our long-term partnership that this visit to Ghana to see our work in the field was one of the first things we discussed. It is going to be inspiring for our local Right To Play coaches and, of course, the children to have Chelsea players and coaches showing such direct interest in them.

'I am sure the week will have a tremendous positive impact and we are really impressed how enthusiastic everyone at Chelsea have been about the trip particularly because it eats into precious close-season personal time.'

The trip has a dual role for Chelsea. As well as being a major initiative in the club's Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, it also serves as part of our young players' education in what is expected of them as first team players of the future.

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