Special Olympics athletes, playing alongside football legends and other celebrities, will compete in the inaugural match of the «Unity Cup» presented by Coca-Cola, on the same pitch that just hours later will host a FIFA World Cup match. The event will take place at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 3, prior to a quarterfinal match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The goal of the Unity Cup is to support the movement of inclusion and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities and is an extension of the Special Olympics Unified Sports program. The Unified Sports program brings Special Olympic athletes together with partners without intellectual disabilities on teams for friendly athletic competition. Participants in the Unity Cup will include South African President Jacob Zuma, former South African national team captain Lucas Radebe, former captain of South Africa’s national women’s football team Desiree Ellis, and Clarence Seedorf of A.C. Milan.
Since the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, The Coca-Cola Company has been an Official Global Partner. Coca-Cola supports the movement through financial and in-kind support, marketing expertise and hands-on volunteer work in an effort to showcase the dignity and capacity of people with intellectual disabilities on a global stage.
Special Olympics South Africa, accredited by Special Olympics, Inc. in 1991, conducts more than 700 local competitions annually with more than 22,000 athletes participating. The South African organization has sent athletes to compete in every international Special Olympics World Games since 1993. In 2009, Special Olympics South Africa hosted a national Unified Sports Football Competition for 10 teams from five provinces.