European football leagues get behind (Product)RED campaign this weekend

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The Independent Online

Top footballers in England, Spain, and Italy will be using a special match ball to highlight a campaign preventable disease as their matches kick off over the weekend of March 13 and 14.

Each match in the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A, will be using an officially sanctioned red-colored variant on the standard league ball.

The (Product)RED campaign, fronted by pop star Bono, works in tandem with partner companies in order to create products whose profits are funnelled towards The Global Fund, a health initiative dedicated to tackling HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis epidemics by way of dispensing financial aid in the form of grants rather than loans.

Various brands have already weighed in with RED styled products, such as American Express, Motorola, Starbucks, and Apple.

More recently, Nike announced their support in November 2009 when footballers including Chelsea's Didier Drogba, Arsenal's Andre Arshavin, Inter Milan's Marco Materazzi, and Fulham's Clint Dempsey joined Bono in launching a line of sport-related equipment.

Typically, (Product)RED goods retail at a higher price than their non-RED counterparts, but pledge a sizable proportion if not the totality of their profits to The Global Fund.

In this case, a (Nike)RED football retails at about a third more than the T90 Ascente on which it is modelled - though the "Lace Up Save Lives" boot laces are significantly cheaper than that - and profits from both are split equally between The Global Fund and other HIV/AIDS education programmes.