As the Group Stage in this season's competition comes to an end, over 250,000 successful passes have been made since the launch of its three-season PASS initiative in September 2012.
With the PASS initiative, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation, in collaboration with UNICEF, are turning every successful pass in the UEFA Europa League into funding for better education, harnessing the power of football to support vulnerable children around the world.
At the end of last season, the PASS fund totaled 178,231 passes, a figure which has now reached 282,568 since the 2013/14 season started on September 19, 2013.
To celebrate, Western Union have pinned down the ever-excellent Sandro to give his take on how the initiative is shaping up and why it’s and important cause.
The top 5 clubs/players for passing in the UEFA Europa League 2013/14 season to date are as follows:
Leading Passing Teams
1. Tottenham Hotspur FC (3,673)
2. Swansea City AFC (3,269)
3. AZ Alkmaar (2,663)
4. Valencia CF (2,651)
5. PSV Eindhoven (2,532)
Leading Passing Players
1. Mousa DembĂ©lĂ©, Tottenham Hotspur FC (451)
2. Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, AZ Alkmaar (352)
3. Thanos Petsos, SK Rapid Wien (346)
4. Alexandros Tziolis, PAOK FC (340)
5. Jan Wuytens, AZ Alkmaar (337)
In September, Western Union announced that Jamaica, Nigeria and Turkey were the first countries to receive funding raised by the PASS initiative. In Jamaica, PASS is supporting UNICEF programs aiming to achieve high levels of attendance, retention, numeracy and literacy among secondary school children with a focus on adolescent boys.
In Nigeria, Western Union is helping increase the number of qualified female teachers and, in turn, the enrollment of female students, contributing to UNICEF's efforts to meet the country's need for 1.3 million more qualified teachers in the country.
In Turkey, funding raised by the PASS initiative is being used to ensure disadvantaged children and ethnic minorities have access to a quality secondary education, with a focus on rural and low income areas where only 30 percent of children attend secondary school.