The Bollywood actor also acted as a referee for some games at the tournament.
It was a Friday dedicated to women power when over 150 ladies from all walks of life came together to celebrate the first women’s-only global soccer tournament in the Middle East.
Held at the Sustainable City, Dubai, the Global Goals World Cup (GGWC) is also being held in support of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The GGWC uses the power of sport to unite and inspire individuals to take positive actions. The football matches are played by a different set of rules, awarding points for both scoring goals as well as working for the 17 global goals for sustainable development. The winning team from UAE will play at the annual global final in New York, during the UN General Assembly in September 2018.
Unlike a traditional soccer game, the GGWC saw the participation of 24 female teams to promote SDGs. The teams comprised of only five members each side and the match lasted not more than six minutes each. The teams pledged an agenda before the match – picking one goal from the SDGs – and took action to spread awareness about it.
Bollywood actor and GGWC ambassador John Abraham attended and also acted as a referee for some games at the tournament, on Friday evening between 4 pm and 9 pm.
When asked about a particular sustainability goal close to his heart, John, who is also a UNHCR ambassador for refugees, said: “I am working towards reducing the carbon footprint in my country and I use solar panels in my office, which helps us save power. We don’t use electricity and have what you call an ‘intelligent building’. So, I believe everyone should have a sustainability goal to improve the world and make it a better place.”
The GGWC UAE was organised by Dubai-headquartered Sustainable Mindz and Denmark-based Eir Soccer, under the patronage of the Royal Danish Embassy Abu Dhabi, Save the Children International and the United Nations Development Programme.
“The GGWC is very focused on women’s empowerment, involving them in taking action for the sustainable development goals. Since it is about achieving GOALS, the medium that is being used to bring people together is soccer,” said Vineetha Mathew, founding partner of Sustainable Mindz, the event organiser.
The GGWC has also created an SDG dream team, comprising Raha Moharrak, the youngest Arab and the first Saudi woman to conquer Mount Everest; Houriya Al Tahri, the first female Emirati football coach for the National Women’s team and 13-year old Gulmehek Khan, the youngest published poetess, with her first collection of 30 poems published when she was 11. This team played for SDG 5, for the cause of gender equality.