Futbol Club Barcelona and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced last week that they would start a three-year partnership to end polio and increase vaccinations around the world.
Bill Gates was joined by FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell i Feliu and manager Josep Guardiola for the announcement.
There is a need to re-energize the fight against polio, Gates said. While it has become a rare disease, it hasn’t been completely eradicated like smallpox. And what better way to gain some attention than getting one of the top football clubs in the world to support your campaign?
“Someone was explaining to me this wonderful soccer team, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I think I’ve heard of them,’” Gates joked when he made the announcement. “They stand for so much more than being great at their sport. ... Hundreds of millions know who they are, and if we could list them and remind people that there’s still work to be done, it would be an incredible thing.”
It’s all about teamwork. And as one reporter pointed out during the question-and-answer session, maybe FC Barcelona and the Gates Foundation could teach Washington and Congress something about what that word means.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.