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Ousted by UNICEF, Becker Still Plans to Aid Children

October 29, 1987|From Reuters

UNITED NATIONS — Dumped as UNICEF's good-will ambassador, two-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker said today that he will continue to help raise funds for needy children.

In the message to Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, the West German protested the U.N. agency's action, taken after he declined to make a commitment not to play tennis in South Africa under the apartheid regime there.

"I will be 20 years old this year and I am a good professional tennis player, but I think that I am too young to enter politics," Becker said.

He said that before UNICEF named him to its celebrity roster of good-will ambassadors in April, 1986, it was aware that he had played junior tennis in South Africa. But there was no mention that he should make a statement about apartheid, which he opposes, he said.

Becker said that last year he refused to participate in the tennis grand prix in Johannesburg, had not participated this year and did not intend to participate in 1988.

But Becker told the secretary general he believed that he should not be forced to sign something prepared by UNICEF or any other organization "over this subject or any other."

He said he had played in charity events for black children in Africa and would "continue my efforts on my own to help the world's neediest children in every way I can."

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