Among the sponsors of the Azerbaijan-hosted European Games, one is not like the others – the United Nations’ Children Fund, or UNICEF. The financial particulars surrounding UNICEF’s sponsorship are murky while the ostensible benefits it is providing in connection with the games are vague.
Founded in 1946, UNICEF does not receive funding from the UN’s budget; instead, it generates its own revenue, mostly via donations from governments, other international institutions and private entities. Sports-related sponsorship deals also provide a relatively small amount of revenue for UNICEF. A three-year deal with the global football powerhouse FC Barcelona, for example, earns UNICEF 1.5 million euros per year.
UNICEF representatives were oblique when queried directly via email to explain how the agency agreed to become a European Games sponsor.
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Editor’s Note: Justin Burke is the Managing Editor of EurasiaNet.org. This story includes reporting by Elizabeth Owen and Katya Kumkova.