Valencia CF Are The 1st Sports Club To Become Global UN Women Ambassadors


We did a giggly little girly dance when we heard Bollywood actor and activist Farhan Akhtar was named as the first male ambassador for UN Women as part of their He For She campaign. And now it seems the humanitarian organization ain’t stopping there. They have now signed their first sports club to the campaign.

Spanish soccer team Valencia CF have become the first official sports team to be ambassadors for UN Women, both men and women’s teams. YES!

In a ceremony held at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday May 26, the entire team and their managers were present to talk about this significant partnership and what it could mean for their fans worldwide.

“UN Women is dedicated to bringing more men and boys into the gender equality conversation. Valencia’s players are strong role models who will lead by example and inspire their vast fan base. We are excited to have Valencia show its support during every match played, with the cause prominently displayed to fans and viewers around the world,” said Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in a press release.


The idea behind He For She, in case you aren’t yet familiar with Emma Watson’s passionate and now-viral speech (please do yourselves a favor and watch that!) the campaign is about engaging men and boys to join the fight for gender equality and be agents of change in a society that desperately needs their voices just as much as women’s.

The cool factor went up a notch when we read that present at the ceremony was Valencia CF Chairwoman Lay Hoon Chan who is the first woman to hold this high position in the club’s 96 year history. Added to that she is the only female chair of a club in the Spanish football league, La Liga.

“We are honored to work alongside UN Women and the global community to support and bring awareness to such a remarkable cause. This is a long-term commitment to really help make a difference to expand advocacy efforts towards gender equality. It’s not only a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue that Valencia CF strongly believes in,” she said.


Valencia are currently embarking on a tour around the US and will unveil their new jerseys sporting the UN Women logo on them during these matches. They will also be hosting co-ed soccer matches as part of soccer coaching clinics around the world. Some of the players weighed in on this monumental partnership and what it means to them.

“Usually we play football games, and we defend the goals. Today we are here to defend the women,” said Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi.

“Everyone is watching soccer, everyone is looking up to us. If you can give a message like we did today with UN women, I think its very important,” he continued.


This partnership is more than just a great publicity stunt, it is a great attempt at speaking to the culture that exists today in the hope that it can harness its obsession with celebrities, sports stars and fame to make a change.

“Sports has got followers, has got fans, so we reach people that we do not normally reach when sitting and discussing at the UN,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Imagine if some major NFL and NBL teams here in the US partnered with a human rights organization to end domestic violence, rape or break down stigma with eating disorders or mental illness? Celebrities and athletes are such a powerful social currency that it’s important to see them setting an example for their millions of fans all over the world.

Check out some of the members of Valencia’s male and female teams talking about their thoughts toward this partnership with UN women.

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