This is the Tagline, edited under "Misc Content"

McDonald's® Announces Significant Global Program For The 2006 FIFA World Cup™

Bringing Over 1,400 Children to Participate in the FIFA World Cup™

LEIPZIG, Germany
Dec 8, 2005

McDonald's Corporation, official worldwide sponsor of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, announced today its global program to bring the passion and excitement of the world's most prestigious football event to millions of people across the world.

With 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, McDonald's will make the game more accessible to people everywhere. The company's sponsorship of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ includes a range of exclusive activities during the tournament itself, as well as the preceding months, such as:

  - McDonald's Player Escort Program
  - Ticket give aways
  - Salads Plus™ products offering
  - Fantasy Football Online Game

"Football is a passion among our millions of employees and customers around the world. We are proud to support the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ on a global stage and give people the opportunity to make their FIFA World Cup dreams come true through a variety of programs," said Jackie Woodward, Corporate Vice President of Global Marketing at McDonald's.

The highlight of McDonald's sponsorship is the McDonald's Player Escort Program. Through this unique initiative McDonald's will give children from around the globe the opportunity to walk onto the pitch hand in hand with the world's best football players.

A total of 1,408 children between 6 and 10 years old from some 35 countries will be given this once in a lifetime opportunity to feel the magic of what it is like to be on the playing fields. Countries participating range from the United Kingdom, France and Ukraine to Mexico, Japan, South Africa and the U.S.

Football superstars past and present are supporting the McDonald's Player Escort Program, including Michael Ballack, Patron of McDonald's Germany Player Escort program and captain of the German team; Lionel Messi, the newest partner for McDonald's Argentina; Kikin Fonseca, Ambassador of McDonald's U.S. Player Escort Program, and '66 FIFA World Cup legend Sir Geoff Hurst MBE (England). All of them participated in the press event.

"McDonald's is committed to children's well-being and to providing unique experiences for our customers everywhere," said Johan Jervoe, Vice President of Marketing for McDonald's Germany and head of sports for McDonald's Europe. "The Player Escort Program has been one of McDonald's most successful sports programs since it began in 2002 at the FIFA World Cup™ in Korea and Japan. We are extremely delighted to be able to offer this program worldwide."

McDonald's will enable fans around the world to experience the thrill of the tournament first hand by giving away 2006 FIFA World Cup™ tickets through in-restaurant promotions, media tie-ins and special employee incentives.

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, McDonald's will offer its national and international guests special food-themed football products. In addition, following the success at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005, McDonald's will once again offer Salads Plus™ products in the concessions stand at all 12 venues. Besides the traditional stadium catering, customers will be able to enjoy McDonald's Garden Salad and McDonald's Fruit Bag.

McDonald's is also the exclusive global sponsor of Fantasy Football on . Football fans will be able to immerse themselves in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ and manage a squad of superstars in the ultimate online fantasy game.

McDonald's has served as sponsor and official partner of the FIFA World Cup™ since the 1994 FIFA World Cup™ in the U.S., 1998 in France, and 2002 in Korea and Japan. For 2006, McDonald's continues as official partner and exclusive global sponsor of the Player Escort Program.

McDonald's is a long time supporter of football for the past 13 years from the grassroots level to the glory of international tournaments.

"Our involvement in football is part of the company's ongoing commitment to balanced, active lifestyles. This is a commitment our CEO, Jim Skinner, has made as one of his top three priorities for the company. McDonald's cares about our customers and we are committed to playing a role in helping them to be more active. We want consumers to better understand the importance of balancing food consumption and physical activity," added Woodward.

Next year will be an exciting year for sports in Europe ... in addition to the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, are just two months away. McDonald's has a long-time commitment with the Olympic Movement as well, and will be bringing the company's balanced lifestyles initiative "it's what i eat and what i do ... i'm lovin' it™" to life at various events throughout the Games.

About McDonald's

McDonald's is the leading foodservice retailer with more than 30,000 local restaurants serving quality food to nearly 50 million people in more than 100 countries each day. Approximately 70 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent, local businessmen and women.

For more information, please visit

AP Archive:
PRN Photo Desk,

SOURCE: McDonald's Corporation

CONTACT: Louise Marcotte of McDonald's Europe, +33 6 80 28 23 03, , or Suzanne Valliere of McDonald's Corporation,

Web site: