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FIFPro played a friendly match against a team of FK Vojvodina veterans in the Serbian city of Novi Sad to raise money for a children’s charity.

The charity United for Life pays for children to have medical treatment. Teodora Milicevic, an 18-year-old girl who has recovered after being treated for leukemia in Germany two years ago, had the first kick of the match.

Thirty white doves were then released from the centre circle. The game was arranged by Mirko Poledica, president of the Serbian player association, to coincide with a two-day general assembly of FIFPro European in Novi Sad.

Vojvodina’s squad included former Liverpool player Milan Jovanovic and ex-Porto footballer Milan Stepanov. The FIFPro team was made up of staff of national player associations, most of them former professional footballers.

Petar Puaca scored first for Vojvodina at the Karadjordje stadium on a counter-attack before FIFPro’s Mario Juric levelled with a header from Carlo Mamo’s cross. Sasa Drakulic made it 2-1 to Vojvodina with the winning goal just after half-time.

FIFPro Europe president Bobby Barnes handed over a  $10,000 cheque from FIFPro to United for Life. Other funds were raised from more than 1,000 ticket sales and contributions from television viewers. The match was broadcast live on Serbian television station RTS.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved with this match,” Poledica, who played in the FIFPro team, said. “We may have lost the match but this was a big win for a humanitarian cause.”

United for Life founder Jovan Simic, who has raised more than $500,000 to help sick children since 2014, thanked FIFPro for the donation.

“This means a lot to me because an organization which is not from my country has recognized my work,” Simic said. “But, of course, it will mean a lot more to those children who need expensive medical treatment.”

Photo above: The Vojvodina and FIFPro teams shake hands before the match. Below: Bobby Barnes hands over a cheque to charity founder Jovan Simic.

charity cheque