Location and general information
EC-UEFA Arrangement for Cooperation
The EC-UEFA Arrangement for Cooperation that was signed in October 2022 by UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin and Margaritis Schinas, vice-president of the European Commission and the commissioner for Promoting our European Way of Life, follows two other cooperation agreements signed in 2014 and 2018. This third EC-UEFA Arrangement for Cooperation refers specifically to Football for Unity as an example of how the agreement can be successfully implemented by the two parties.
Football for Unity 1.0
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first UEFA European Football Championship, the European Commission's DG HOME, UEFA, the UEFA Foundation for Children and Common Goal joined forces through the EU's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to implement the Football for Unity project during UEFA EURO 2020. In response to its success, the European Commission, UEFA, the UEFA Foundation for Children and Common Goal have decided to expand their collaboration, with Football for Unity 2.0 including activities outside the framework of the European Football Championship.
A multi-stakeholder collaboration spearheaded by the UEFA Foundation for Children and Common Goal will foster pan-European exchange and networking, cross-sectoral collaboration, capacity development and peer-to-peer learning with a view to raising awareness, inspiring desired behaviour and leading thinking on how sport can enable and accelerate the empowerment of young refugees/migrants and vulnerable young people in host communities in Europe.
Football for Unity 2.0 seeks to fundamentally transform the way sports clubs, grassroots organisations and national football associations work with young refugees and migrants. The project will offer a systemic approach to the scaling-up and dissemination of impact-proven, innovative sport‑based social inclusion practices, working with 190 coaches, educators and youth/social workers at organisational, local, regional, national and European level.
Those actors, in turn, will seek to engage with 2,900 of the hardest-to-reach young Europeans, refugees and migrants through structured sport-based integration initiatives and non-formal education programmes. That strengthening of cooperation, capacity and professionalism at transnational level will help sports clubs, national football associations and grassroots organisations to foster social inclusion and equal opportunities, especially by setting quality standards for innovative practices.
A consortium of 14 project partners in 11 EU Member States (Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Romania, Spain, Latvia, the Netherlands and Italy) will establish expertise and a common understanding in the areas of social inclusion/integration, anti-racism and the tackling of discrimination through sport. Each of those partners has great experience because of many years of successful work at local and regional level, ensuring sustainability, ownership and societal transformation both on and off the pitch.
Football for Unity 2.0 will be guided by the following objectives over the two-year project period:
- Tackle racial discrimination against young migrants and refugees in European football – on the field, on the side lines, in the stands and across our communities
- Development and launch of an online curriculum for Switch the Pitch in German and English
- Use of the Switch the Pitch online platform and in-person workshops for 40 coaches working with three to six local football teams in Germany and 20 coaches working with four organisations in four other EU Member States (Austria, Latvia, Italy and Spain) to increase their knowledge and awareness of inclusive coaching and the fight against discrimination and xenophobia in football
- Training for four European grassroots football organisations, a number of NGOs and the national football associations of four EU Member States (Austria, Latvia, Italy and Spain) to increase their knowledge of Common Goal’s anti-racism methodology and prepare them for pan-European dissemination
- Three training sessions for 30 fan group leaders (e.g. Football Supporters Europe) and 100 fan zone volunteers (in Berlin) to increase their awareness of diversity, equality and inclusion and give them practical tools to address discrimination at fan events.
- Improve the safety, protection and well-being of young migrants/refugees and young people in host communities, helping them to cope with crises and supporting their recovery
- Implementation of sport-based integration sessions (using methodologies such as football3) in seven EU Member States (Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Romania and Spain) in order to build trust, dialogue and understanding between young migrants/refugees and young people in host communities, seeking to foster sensitivity to the needs of other people (respect, empathy, cooperation, equality, etc.)
- Implementation of a ‘train the trainer’ programme, helping 130 coaches, teachers and young leaders to deliver training independently and pass knowledge and skills on to young refugees/migrants and young people in host communities in two EU Member States (Poland and the Czech Republic)
- Make the European public aware of the diversity that exists within Europe and the contribution that successful integration makes to the well-being, prosperity and cohesion of European societies
- Raising awareness of issues surrounding the integration of refugees and migrants across Europe and promoting a positive image of migration
In addition, UEFA, as a formal supporter of this project, will promote knowledge generated by the project within the wider football ecosystem in the hope that European football will continue to increase its inclusion of and support for refugees and migrants.
Football for Unity 2.0 will enable the implementation of (i) Switch the Pitch and (ii) Team Up for Solidarity.
Switch the Pitch
Our Switch the Pitch curriculum unites the football community behind anti-racism education and action; it aims to create a more inclusive and anti-racist environment for coaches and players of all ages. Its comprehensive action-oriented approach to educating players and coaches across the youth game is a revolutionary way of combating racism in the sport. One of the central components of Switch the Pitch, an ‘inclusive coach’ training programme, revolves around six topics – empathy, safety, vulnerability, appreciation, awareness and authenticity. For every topic, expert trainers explain three essential skills in a video, giving coaches tools that can immediately be incorporated into their training plans. In addition, an anti-racism curriculum consisting of 36 team activities enables youth coaches to engage their teams in a series of on-field team challenges that are designed to educate, activate and facilitate conversations around key topics such as racial identity, allyship, activism and leadership. We are launching a full European pilot for Switch the Pitch, and Germany – the host of EURO 2024 – has been chosen owing to the potential to activate Switch the Pitch as part of that tournament. In addition, a European scaling plan for Switch the Pitch will be developed and implemented.
Switch the Pitch Europe
We believe that the Switch the Pitch methodology should be utilised across Europe. As part of the Football for Unity 2.0 programme, we will therefore host a cohort of European grassroots organisations and national football associations to develop a European scaling strategy for Switch the Pitch. That cohort (comprising organisations from Italy, Austria, Latvia and Spain) will participate in two three-day events (one in the summer of 2024 and one in early 2025), which will be hosted by a German football club (Fortuna Düsseldorf). At the first of those workshops, they will receive training on the Switch the Pitch methodology, and our curriculum experts will help them to develop an implementation plan for Switch the Pitch in their community. Over a period of six to eight months, each cohort member will implement its version of Switch the Pitch in its community, and there will be regular online check-ins and further learning opportunities across this period. The cohort will then reconvene at the second workshop in early 2025 to discuss their experiences with implementing Switch the Pitch and develop a sustainable scaling plan for the methodology.
Team Up for Solidarity
Team Up for Solidarity involves active collaboration with local organisations, using sport as an impactful, cost-effective, and low-threshold methodology in a structured and systemic way. Our project creates inclusive spaces that improve the safety, protection and well-being of young migrants and refugees across Europe, facilitate emotional and social stabilisation, foster the acquisition of new skills and abilities, strengthen resilience and create short to long-term opportunities in the areas of health, education and training. Sport-based integration/inclusion methodologies create a dynamic informal learning environment for young people, reinforcing formal educational curricula. They promote confidence, trust and safety, enabling players to put values they learn into action and become engaged in their communities. Engaging with those methodologies encourages informed decision-making and stimulates interest in how social challenges can be overcome. An emphasis on dialogue and conflict resolution enables players to grasp the power of consensual decision-making, allowing them to bridge cultural differences in a social environment marked by a constant inflow and outflow of community members. Furthermore, individuals who have been involved in sport-based integration/inclusion programmes also show greater dedication and responsibility and are more accountable to themselves and their communities.
Implementation partners: Trenuj Bycie Dobrym (Poland), Fundación Fútbol Más (Spain), Breaking Grounds (Austria), INEX – Sdruženi Dobrovolných Aktivit, Z.S. (Czech Republic), Oltalom Sport Association (Hungary), Organization Earth (Greece) and Romanian Football Federation (Romania)
Leveraging EURO 2024 to increase visibility and impact
Leveraging UEFA’s strong footprint across the continent in order to maximise visibility and impact, EURO 2024 will (i) harness football’s potential as a catalyst with a view to improving the social, mental, emotional and physical well-being of young refugees and migrants, and (ii) generate awareness and knowledge of sport’s potential to be an effective driver of integration, gender equality, anti-racism, fairness, respect, inclusion and youth empowerment.
EURO 2024 will provide an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds across the EU to come together and celebrate their love of the sport, promoting understanding and respect between cultures. Additionally, the project will also provide a platform for players, officials and clubs to speak out against racism and discrimination, which will help to raise awareness of the issue and encourage others to act.
EURO 2024 will serve as a platform to make European citizens aware of how sport can enable young migrants/refugees and young people from host communities to acquire transferable skills, supporting their integration into society and strengthening their ability to make conscious decisions about their livelihoods. The tournament will have a profound impact on global and European audiences through its visibility and the media, allowing us to target the European public, policy-makers, media representatives and stakeholders in the fields of sport, education, gender equality, youth empowerment and social inclusion/integration. By mobilising global and European influencers, relevant agencies, and local or thematic influencers, the objectives of the programme will be communicated widely across Europe and around the world.