ABU DHABI // A humanitarian organisation is hoping for a big fund raising payoff when a "royal" football signed by leaders from each emirate is auctioned off later this year. Nahtam Social Responsibility is working with the Austrian and Swiss embassies to organise the first Royal Euro 2008 Football Charity Auction. The football has been signed by members of the ruling families of all seven emirates, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.
The football will be auctioned on September 28 at Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi. The campaign has a head start of Dh100,000 (US$27,200), as the UAE Football Association and Abu Dhabi Sports Council have already each donated Dh50,000. The auction will help Nahtam raise awareness for eight charities from each emirate, including the Special Care Centre in Abu Dhabi and the Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs in Dubai.
Isabelle Le Bon-Poonoosamy, co-founder and vice president of Nahtam, said "the target is to reach above the sky because those charities deserve the best". Isphana al Khatib, director of Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs in Dubai, said in response to the campaign that "to have this support means it gives us credibility". She added: "Our work is recognised in higher levels." In addition to the auction, Nahtam will distribute donation boxes in the shape of footballs throughout the Emirates to schools, charities and malls.