RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Brazil’s two major soccer teams will hold a "peace match" in the Palestinian Authority.
Officials from the Flamengo and Corinthians clubs declared Monday in Rio de Janeiro that the match will be carried out "in Palestine" this year on a date and place to be announced soon. The first edition of the "peace match" was held in Haiti, in 2004, when Brazil’s squad beat the host country, 6-0.
"The federal government supports this second peace game," said Vera Cintia, Brazil’s foreign ministry sports coordinator. "Brazil has no better greeting card than soccer. We will try to deliver a good message to that suffering region."
Flamengo’s president, Marcio Braga, said "It will be a friendly non-official match. The president of the Palestinian federation has given the green light and it is of great importance."
Braga added that former Brazilian soccer stars Pele, Zico and Rivelino may attend the match.
In 2004, the Brazilians were escorted by the United Nations military to the stadium because of turmoil in Haiti. Brazilian star Ronaldo wore a T-shirt with the word peace written in four languages. At the end of the match, the Brazilian squad held a banner that read "Social justice is the true name of peace" in Creole.
Based in Rio, Flamengo is Brazil’s most popular soccer team with an estimated 35 million supporters worldwide. Sao Paulo-based Corinthians is the second largest club with some 30 million supporters.