McDonald's helps kids connect with soccer at World Cup

Fast food giant McDonald's is helping children score big at the 2002 FIFA World Cup through a special programme which pairs kids with the world's best football players.

As sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Player Escort Program, McDonald's is bringing more than 1,400 children, aged six to 10, from around the world to take the field with the sport's most elite athletes as Player Escorts. The action commence with the opening match, scheduled to take place between France and Senegal.

Till the final on 30 June in Yokohama, Japan, one child will accompany each player from every team for pre-game introductions at all 64 matches. In addition to their moment on the pitch, the Player Escorts will enjoy a variety of social activities and entertainment as well as get to attend FIFA World Cup matches. Among the countries represented are Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and host countries Korea and Japan. The children were selected through a variety of activities in their communities, including essay contests, radio competitions, and restaurant promotions.

On November 20 this year, McDonald's will conduct a simultaneous fundraiser for children in its restaurants around the world on the occasion of World Children's Day. The effort will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities and children's causes in McDonald's communities in 121 countries worldwide, says an official release.

McDonald's has been a sponsor and the Official Restaurant of the FIFA World Cup since 1994, when the Tournament was held in the United States for the first time.

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