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30.03.2004 – 14:30

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.

Contact:

Mr Mohamed Benjelloun
CEO General Orient SA
Tel. +41/22/716'34'34
Fax +41/22/716'34'35
E-Mail: generalorientsa@bluewin.ch

Media contacts:
Philippe Amez-Droz
Azconsulting, public relations
Tel. +41/22/786'76'86
Fax +41/22/786'76'87
E-Mail: az@azconsulting.ch