Uruguayan football manager Óscar Tabárez named UN Champion for Sport

Óscar Washington Tabárez, also known as “El Maestro,” worked as a teacher in Uruguay in the late 1960s. Photo: Government of Uruguay

27 January 2012 – Uruguayan national football team manager Óscar Tabárez, known as El Maestro (The Teacher), will help promote education and sports programmes for vulnerable children in his native country, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today, as part of his new role as Champion for Sport for the agency.

Mr. Tabárez’ nomination comes “in recognition of his commitment to promote education and sport programmes for vulnerable children in Uruguay, his charitable activities in the framework of the Tabárez Project, and his dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization,” UNESCO stated in a news release.

He will officially take up his new position during a ceremony at the agency’s headquarters in Paris on Monday. Diego Lugano, captain of the Uruguayan national team and defender of the Paris Saint Germain football team, will also attend the event.

Born in Montevideo in 1947, Mr. Tabárez began his career in football with the Montevideo Football Club (Institución Atlética Sud América) in 1967 and, after qualifying as a teacher, combined careers in teaching and football. He later worked in primary schools in poor neighbourhoods and contributed to literacy training for adults and education for the visually handicapped.

In Uruguay, Mr. Tabárez works with programmes such as Sport for Peace and Development and Sport for All, which use sports to promote inclusion of the under-privileged.

After playing for one Mexican and five Uruguayan teams, Mr. Tabárez became a professional coach. His trophies as national football manager include the 2011 Copa América, won by Uruguay, and the country’s fourth place in the 2010 World Cup (South Africa). He has also coached teams in Colombia (Dportivo Cali), Argentina (Vélez Sarsfield and Boca Juniors), Spain (Oviedo) and Italy (Cagliari and AC Milan).

Mr. Tabárez will join other international sports stars who are also Champions for Sport such as World Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, Olympic judo champion David Douillet, football player Pelé, and pole vault Olympic champion Sergey Bubka.


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