General Orient SA

Match for peace and solidarity: Two football teams, Spanish and North African, will be playing on 2 April 2004 at the Fontenette Stadium in Carouge

    Geneva (ots) - On the initiative of Mr Mohamed Benjelloun, a businessman who is "Moroccan by nationality, Madrid Spanish by my mother-in-law and Swiss at heart", two football teams will meet for a friendly match, "for the cause of peace and solidarity" in commemoration of the victims of the Madrid bombings, at 8:30pm on Friday 2 April 2004 at the Fontenette Stadium in Carouge. The teams are the "Racing Club", which has 160 members, mainly from the North African population of Geneva and Haute-Savoie, and the "CD Cerceda-Genève" club with 86 players from the Spanish community in Geneva and which has more than 220 members.

    Keeping the record straight

    Of Moroccan origin, chairman of Général Orient SA, a Geneva finance company, Mr Mohamed Benjelloun, who has lived with his family in the canton of Vaud for twenty years, is a football fan who has long given his discreet and amiable backing to the "Racing Club", a team made up of North Africans, many of them Moroccan.

    "After the dreadful attacks in Madrid and Casablanca, we had to do something to condemn such barbarity, this terrorism from nowhere and anywhere, which hits out blindly at us, regardless of our nationality".

    Wholehearted unanimous support

    Doesn't sport in general, and football in particular, unite whole nations around a single passion? Galvanised by this idea, Mr Mohamed Benjelloun has persuaded the chairmen of two local football clubs, Mr Khalid Chagna, chairman of the Racing Club, and Mr Avelino Mosquera, chairman of CD Cerceda-Genève, a club for the Spaniards of Geneva, to meet for a friendly match to commemorate all the victims of "horror and barbarity", "for the sake of peace and solidarity".

    "This is an initiative in the name of human warmth and dignity", explained Mr Khalid Chagna. "We represent the whole North African community of Geneva and Haute-Savoie. We were all very upset by the Madrid bombings, especially so soon after Casablanca. We want to express our feelings of solidarity and friendship and I think football is a good way to do so."

    For his part, Mr Avelino Mosquera states: "In the aftermath of the Madrid bombings and in the overall context of terrorism, we wanted to show our support for peace and friendship between peoples, and do so from this international city of Geneva. We gave an immediate positive response to the Racing Club. We shall be in touch with the other five Spanish teams in Geneva, to get them, and the Geneva Football Association, to join in this event."

    The event

    Thirty players from each team will take part in the match which will be held at 8:30pm in the Fontenette Stadium, Carouge. Mr Mohamed Benjelloun warmly thanks all those who wasted no time in giving their support and assistance to the event, and in particular Mrs Marylin Brodard, secretary of the "Etoile Carouge FC".

    The players will be wearing a specially-made strip bearing the word "Peace" in Spanish, Arabic and French, and down the side, the Spanish and Moroccan flags will serve as a reminder of the traditions and friendship linking the two countries.

    Representatives of the Spanish and Geneva authorities will be given a warm invitation to join the Spanish and North African communities attending the event.

    A cup for friendship, "for peace and sincerity", adds Mr Mohamed Benjelloun, will be served at the end of the match.

    Free entrance.

ots Originaltext: General Orient SA

Mr Mohamed Benjelloun
CEO General Orient SA
Tel.      +41/22/716'34'34
Fax        +41/22/716'34'35

Media contacts:
Philippe Amez-Droz
Azconsulting, public relations
Tel.      +41/22/786'76'86
Fax        +41/22/786'76'87

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