The fifth annual Laureus World Sports Awards event is to be held in Estoril, on the Lisbon Coast, Portugal, from 8-11 May, 2004. The decision to hold the 2004 Awards Ceremony in Portugal marks the start of a new phase in the life of the Awards.
As the only global sports awards that covers all sports disciplines, it is felt appropriate that the Awards Ceremony should be staged in different locations annually to reflect the international dimension of Laureus.
Next year will see the start of a bidding process from cities around the world to stage the 2005 Awards Ceremony. Initial expressions of interest have been received from Cape Town, Hamburg, Valencia, Miami, Shanghai, Venice and Sicily.
As part of this new global approach, earlier this year the Nominations Announcements for the 2003 Laureus World Sports Awards were made simultaneously in nine cities around the world - London, Berlin, Madrid, Miami, Milan, Paris, Johannesburg and Shanghai.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is recognised as the premier honours in the international sporting calendar and the Awards Ceremony, which is seen around the world by a TV audience of 360 million, provides a high profile focus as stars of the sporting world come together to honour the finest sportsmen and sportswomen of the year.
The Awards Ceremony on the Estoril Coast will be a key part of a magnificent summer of sport in Portugal, which hosts the 2004 European Football Championship from June 12th - July 4th
The announcement that the 2004 Awards Ceremony is to be held on the Estoril Coast was made by His Excellency José Luis ARNAUT, Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal, Edwin MOSES, double Olympic gold medallist and Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy and his fellow Academy Member Emerson FITTIPALDI, Brazil's double motor racing world champion.
Edwin MOSES, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: "This is an important step for Laureus. Portugal is a superb sporting destination and we are delighted to be going to Estoril. I am confident that with the support of the Portuguese Government, the 2004 Laureus World Sports Awards will be the best ever."
Emerson FITTIPALDI added: "I am delighted that the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony is to move to Portugal. This is a tremendous thing for the Portuguese sporting community worldwide and a great opportunity for the country. I know the great enthusiasm of the Portuguese people for sport and I have already been telling my fellow Laureus Academy members what a big welcome we will receive here next May."
Iain BANNER, Chief Executive Officer of Laureus, said: "I would like to thank the Portuguese Government for making it possible for us to stage the 2004 Laureus World Sports Awards in Estoril. This is a very exciting development. Sport is a global language and Laureus reflects that internationalism. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy come from every continent and it is great that we have the opportunity to take the Awards Ceremony to new venues. This is the best way to spread the Laureus message around the world."
The Laureus World Sports Academy, which consists of 42 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, vote to decide who should receive the Laureus World Sports Awards each year. They also volunteer their services as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the charitable arm of the Laureus World Sports Awards.
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. Its work focuses on helping young people overcome poverty, homelessness, war, violence, drugs, discrimination and AIDS. So far over 100,000 underprivileged young people have been helped in 22 projects around the world.
The Laureus World Sports Academy now plan to expand the work of the Foundation to Portugal. It was announced today that the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Luis Figo Foundation will work together in Portugal to develop new projects. The Luis Figo Foundation has many of the same aims as the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Figo, who has played 95 times for Portugal and is acknowledged as one of the greatest footballers in the world, said: "I want to help young people without economic resources to develop their talents while avoiding drugs, alcohol and crime. I know these are the things that Laureus is also trying to do. I am delighted that the 2004 Laureus World Sports Awards will be held in Portugal. Together we can achieve a lot in Portugal."
The 2004 Awards Ceremony, to be staged at the Centro Cultural de Belem, on the Lisbon Coast, on May 10th, 2004, will provide a fitting climax to two days of exciting events which include the Laureus Golf Challenge, presented by Mercedes-Benz and English luxury men's brand dunhill, the Laureus Tennis Challenge, and the Laureus Surf Festival, to be held on Guincho Beach and hosted by windsurfing legend and Laureus Academy member Robby Naish. The traditional Laureus Regatta, which attracts world class yachtsmen and is presented by Mercedes-Benz and Italian watch company Officine Panerai, will take place in Cascais Bay, 3 miles from Estoril, the same waters where the 2007 America's Cup could be staged.