Football for Unity 2.0: European Commission, Common Goal and UEFA Foundation for Children team up to support migrants and refugees through UEFA EURO 2024

Football for Unity 2.0: European Commission, Common Goal and UEFA Foundation for Children team up to support migrants and refugees through UEFA EURO 2024

‘Football for Unity’, a leading social inclusion project funded by the European Commission, relaunched today to promote the empowerment of young migrants and refugees across Europe through the beautiful game.

The project will feature activities connected to the Europe-wide platform of next summer’s UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany, building on the success and expanding the actions of an initiative first implemented during EURO 2020.

UEFA President and Chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children, Aleksander Čeferin, welcomed the launch:

“Integration and inclusion are vital for building a diverse and harmonious society where every individual’s unique contribution and perspective are acknowledged, valued, and celebrated - values that are precisely incorporated and emphasised in football. We are very proud to relaunch Football for Unity today and I want to thank the European Commission, Common Goal and the project partners involved including UEFA National Associations. I look forward to the project’s successful implementation, also during EURO 2024 where we have dedicated plans and concrete actions to promote inclusion and integration all over Europe.”

Football for Unity 2.0 has been co-developed at a strategic and technical level with the European Commission and will be implemented by the UEFA Foundation for Children, in partnership with Common Goal, and supported by UEFA. It will operate across multiple EU member states and is funded by the European Union’s Asylum and Migration Fund.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice President, European Commission underlined the importance the EU attaches to working with partners towards common European values:

“We value this strong cooperation with UEFA on innovative ways to promote social change and European values through European football. Projects like Football for Unity, which benefit from the unrivalled reach of UEFA’s iconic events, can contribute importantly to the EU’s objectives of breaking down the barriers young migrants and refugees face integrating into communities across Europe.”

Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, highlighted the added value of sport to support migrant integration and more positive perception and narrative:

Sport helps bring people closer together. The shared passion for football can make locals and migrants realise that they have more things in common than what they initially thought. Sport can also very much help with migrants’ integration. Though this project, important work will take place with grassroots organisations to include migrants in our society. This is why we support the Football for Unity project and we look forward to the results in the 11 Member States taking part in it.”

Kicking off this December, the two-year project will help to transform the way sports clubs, grassroots organisations and national football associations work with young refugees and migrants. A consortium of 14 project partners in 11 EU Member States (Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Romania, Spain, Latvia, the Netherlands and Italy) will drive Football for Unity 2.0's mission to:

  1. Tackle racial discrimination in football across Europe by providing innovative training across sporting ecosystems.
  2. Improve the safety and well-being of young refugees and migrants by implementing sport-based integration sessions.
  3. Raise awareness of European cultural diversity and the positive contribution of successful integration to European societies.

Leveraging Common Goal’s unrivaled network of civil society organisations, Football for Unity 2.0 will involve 190 coaches, educators and youth/social workers all over Europe, who will engage with 2,900 young migrants, refugees and Europeans through integration initiatives and non-formal education programmes. This collaboration aims to foster social inclusion, equal opportunities and set quality standards for innovative practices.

As a project supporter, UEFA will collaborate with the UEFA Foundation for Children and European Commission to promote and share the project’s activities and learning outputs within European football and wider society.

Urs Kluser, General Secretary, UEFA Foundation for Children, said:

The first Football for Unity project gave us a lot of insights which we will expand on and develop in this next period. It has been a real team effort with the partners to co-create programmes that will make the most impact at grassroots and community level for young refugees and migrants.”

Building on more than a decade of formal cooperation between UEFA and the EU, this delivers tangibly on the commitments UEFA and the European Commission made in their 2022 EC-UEFA Arrangement for Cooperation to use football’s influence and UEFA’s pan-European competitions to promote European values and positive social outcomes.

Access to the background information.

Integration and inclusion are vital for building a diverse and harmonious society where every individual’s unique contribution and perspective are acknowledged, valued, and celebrated - values that are precisely incorporated and emphasised in football. We are very proud to relaunch Football for Unity today and I want to thank the European Commission, Common Goal and the project partners involved including UEFA National Associations. I look forward to the project’s successful implementation, also during EURO 2024 where we have dedicated plans and concrete actions to promote inclusion and integration all over Europe

- Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA President and Chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children

UEFA Foundation for Children activities during UEFA EURO 2020

UEFA Foundation for Children activities during UEFA EURO 2020

In light of the positive impact of the social projects run by the UEFA Foundation for Children and its partners during UEFA EURO 2016, the foundation will oversee all charitable projects associated with this year’s tournament.

The UEFA Foundation for Children reflects UEFA’s desire to play a more active role in broader society and use football and its popularity to create a better world. Established in 2015, the foundation is a charitable organisation governed by Swiss law. It defends the rights of underprivileged children and helps them to have better lives, develop their potential and find their place in the community, all through the beautiful game. Since 2015, it has invested in a total of 318 projects in 116 different countries, for the benefit of more than 1.1 million children. Currently, 168 projects around the world are supported by foundation funding.


The UEFA Foundation for Children seeks to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Its main priorities are: (i) support children’s health, especially children with disabilities; (ii) help improve the living conditions of young refugees; (iii) promote children’s access to sport; (iv) help children thrive by encouraging their personal development; and (v) provide material support for sport and education. In addition to those priorities, the UEFA Foundation for Children has recently added an extra focus on employability, to support young people in their social and professional integration through sport.


  1. Children’s Smiles

Location: Stadiums in Copenhagen and Saint Petersburg


Copenhagen: 12/06 – 17/06 – 21/06 – 28/06

Saint Petersburg: 12/06 – 16/06 – 21/06

The foundation will use the power and excitement of this pan-European football tournament to make a positive impact on the lives of children, especially those living in precarious situations in the host cities. This programme aims to give 8–16 year-olds in disadvantaged communities and 8–21 year-olds living with disabilities the opportunity to attend a EURO 2020 match and feel part of the event.


  1. Player mascot programme

Location: Stadiums in Amsterdam, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome and Seville

Matches: #2 to #48 – a EURO 2020 official sponsor – will give underprivileged children in host cities the opportunity to be player mascots, picking the lucky youngsters with the foundation’s help to take part in the matchday pitch activities. The opening match, semi-finals and finals will be included in this programme as well as the venues in Baku and Saint Petersburg.

  1. Interactive Robot 2020

Location: Stadiums in Budapest, Munich and Seville


Budapest: 16-9/06 – 23/06

Seville: 14/06 – 19/06 – 23/06

Munich: 15/06 – 19/06 – 23/06

The UEFA Foundation for Children is working with the Eric Abidal Foundation to enable hospitalised children to share in the EURO 2020 experience, by using a remote-controlled robot to connect with the stadium from their hospital bed before the match. They will experience the pre-match atmosphere behind the scenes and be able to interact with players in their favourite team.


  1. Football for Unity festivals 2020

Location: Football villages in Amsterdam, Budapest, Copenhagen, London, Munich and Rome

Supported by the European Union's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), these festivals will use the tournament’s unique multi-country structure to host seven events that share European best social inclusion practices with the rest of the world through football. They will bring disadvantaged European youngsters together, with a focus on foreign nationals and refugee/migrant women.

Festivals accessible to media and public:

Venue Dates / Times Activities
UEFA Football Village Budapest
Heroes Square and City Park Ice Rink
Saturday, 19 June
9:00 – 13:00
Fair Play Football Gala (tournament)
Fulvio Bernardini Sport Center– Rome
Via dell'Acqua Marcia, 51 - 00158Roma
Saturday, 19 June
15:00 – 20:00
football for inclusion tournament, youth forum/workshop
UEFA Football Village – Copenhagen
Ofelia Plads
Friday, 25 June
15:00 – 19:00
football for inclusion tournament, youth forum/workshop
A.V.V. Zeeburgia
Kruislaan 244, 1098 SM, Amsterdam
Saturday, 3 July
13:00 – 18:00
football for inclusion tournament, impactful side events and integration activities
Black Prince Trust
Saturday, 10 July
10:00 – 18:00
Football tournament, mural painting, skill zones, youth forum/ workshops


Football for Employability

Location: Puskás Ferenc Stadium in Budapest

This project is supported by FedEx – an official sponsor of EURO 2020.

Football helps young adults who are struggling to enter the job market, involving them in vocational training, personal development programmes and educational activities to improve their job-seeking skills. Beneficiaries of this programme will join the EURO 2020 volunteer programme.


  1. Second Life

Location: All venues

At the end of EURO 2020, local charities working with underprivileged children will be given surplus materials from the tournament, which will benefit those children and leave a positive legacy.


  1. UEFA Foundation for Children photo exhibition

Location: HQ Hotel – London

Date:              5 – 10 July

The UEFA Foundation for Children will stage a photo exhibition promoting children’s rights, raising awareness of the living conditions of disadvantaged children around the world and showing how football can have a positive impact on their lives.


  1. Foundation partners

A Ball For All project by Youthorama: awareness of blind football

Location: Football Village Budapest

Date: 21 June, 12:00 – 16:00

Activity: Experiential safe fun activities for everyone.

Date: 22 June, 15:00 – 19:00

Activity Blindfolded penalty shoot-out with the participation of the Hungarian blind football academy and a group of young Greek volunteers.

Date: 23 June, 15:00 – 16:00

Activities with famous sports athletes/role models and interview opportunities

750 free special mini footballs with the project logos will be distributed to all children with a visual impairment at kindergarten or elementary school throughout the country.




Location: Football Village Rome (Booth name is "KIDS")

Date: 11 June to 11 July

Activities - Social Kick Up Challenge/ Tic Tac Toe/  Mini Football

Location: Football Village London (City Hall)

Date: 19 June to 11 July

Activities - Social Kick Up Challenge/ Tic Tac Toe/ TeqBall/ Mini Football/ Euro Quiz

Location: Football Village London (Trafalgar Square)

Date: 10 July

Activity: A session to discuss about the ELEVEN - Philanthropic Documentary , screening the trailer and discussing about the values of sport.

Location: Football Village Copenhagen

Date: 27th June

Activity: Julie, who is from Copenhagen and the Danish representative in the ELEVEN - Philanthropic Documentary, will participate at a panel with current female national team players to discuss about youth, education, travel and of course football.

The trailer of the ELEVEN - Philanthropic Documentary is screened in all the Football Villages that the EURO2020 takes place.



How can broadcasters get involved?

Football has the power to change children’s lives for the better. By covering the UEFA Foundation for Children’s activities, you will be helping to send meaningful messages of dignity, inclusion and hope to a worldwide audience of millions.

Additional information, such as on media events or interview opportunities, will be published in due course.


More about the UEFA Foundation for Children

Contact person: Tania Baima





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UEFA EURO Trophy on tour in France

With three months to go until UEFA EURO 2016 kicks off, the Henri Delaunay Cup, which all of Europe’s greatest footballers would love to get their hands on, is setting off on a journey to meet supporters all over France.

From 1 April to 9 June, the UEFA EURO 2016 trophy tour train, decked out in the tournament colours, will take young and old on an adventure to discover the European Football Championship of today and yesterday, getting the public in the mood for this summer’s festival of football and giving them a foretaste of the activities being organised by the UEFA Foundation for Children.

The UEFA Foundationa for Children is supporting three children’s projects in connection with UEFA EURO 2016.

20,000 Children’s Smiles: the foundation is inviting 20,000 disadvantaged or vulnerable children to attend matches at UEFA EURO 2016, meaning that 2,000 children in each host city will get the chance to enjoy the unique UEFA EURO 2016 experience.

The foundation is also supporting the EURO Foot Jeunes tournament, which will take place just before UEFA EURO 2016, from 29 May to 5 June. Organised by the national union of school sport (UNSS) in Lens and Lille, it is the largest schools tournament of the year and will involve girls and boys from the 30 European countries that have not qualified for UEFA EURO 2016.

The third project being supported by the foundation is an international solidarity tournament being organised by the Sport dans la Ville association as part of streetfootballworld Festival 16. This festival will take place in the heart of Lyon from 28 June to 7 July and will bring together 500 children and young people from disadvantaged communities all over the world, who have been chosen for their desire to change the world through football.

A giant UEFA EURO 2016 ball will be aboard the trophy tour train and will be signed by local dignitaries at each of the different stops as a sign of their support children throughout the world and their right to play football. The UEFA Foundation for Children will then present the ball to Sport dans la Ville at the international solidarity tournament. Sport dans la Ville encourages the social and vocational integration of young people from underprivileged neighbourhoods in France through sport.

The trophy tour departs from Saint-Denis and will stop for the public in Paris (Gare de Lyon), Caen, Amiens, Lens, Mulhouse, Nancy, Lille, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Libourne, Poitiers and Brest, before returning to Paris again (Gare Montparnasse) and then heading to Tours, Nantes, Toulouse, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Dijon, Saint-Etienne, Besançon, Reims, Lyon and Strasbourg, before rounding off the tour in Paris (Gare du Nord).

Draw for EURO FOOT Jeunes takes place

The draw for EURO FOOT Jeunes – the European schools tournament set to take place from 29 May to 5 June in Lens and Lille – was made on Tuesday, 29 March, in the sumptuous surroundings of the Louvre-Lens museum, in the presence of Super Victor, the official mascot of UEFA EURO 2016.

This tournament, which is supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children and organised jointly by France’s National Union of School Sport (UNSS), the International School Sport Federation (ISF), EURO 2016 SAS and the French Football Federation (FFF), will bring together almost 1,000 young footballers – both boys and girls – from a total of 45 different countries.

“The UEFA Foundation for Children is delighted and very proud to be supporting this UNSS tournament alongside EURO 2016 SAS. This is a wonderful opportunity for young footballers to play an indirect part in the senior tournament,” said Hosni Ajala, a representative of the foundation.

The draw, which was accompanied by a dance performance by local schoolchildren, was conducted by Olivier Dacourt, formerly of RC Lens and the French national side, in the presence of numerous distinguished guests, notably Jean-François Ceca, deputy mayor of Lens with responsibility for sport, Laurent Petrynka, national director of the UNSS, and Luc Johann, rector of the local education authority.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be here today, both because I played in this city for RC Lens and because I am proud to be supporting this youth football event,” Dacourt said, before conducting the draw for the girls’ and boys’ competitions with the aid of French musician Lord Kossity and Lille OSC and French international Rio Mavuba respectively (see results below).

“We want the Schools EURO 2016 to be an opportunity to strengthen the educational dimension of the UNSS on the back of this major international sporting event hosted by France,” Petrynka said in his speech at the draw.

Thus, young players from all over the world will have a unique opportunity to come to northern France and compete for this highly prestigious trophy, playing in the fantastic sports facilities made available for this tournament by LOSC Lille Métropole and RC Lens – namely Stade Pierre Mauroy, which will host six matches at EURO 2016, and La Gaillette, RC Lens’ training complex and player development centre.

The results of the draw were as follows:

Boys’ competition

Group A

Turkey (seeded)
French Overseas Team

Group B

France (seeded)

 Group C

Croatia (seeded)
Belgium Wallonia

Group D

Hungary (seeded)
Northern Ireland

Girls’ competition

Group A

Switzerland (seeded)
Turkey (seeded)
Northern Ireland

Group B

France (seeded)
Germany (seeded)
French Overseas Team

The UEFA Foundation for Children extends the reach of UEFA EURO 2016

The UEFA Foundation for Children is supporting three projects organised by EURO 2016 SAS on the initiative of Michel Platini and Jacques Lambert.
These three projects will enable some 20,000 young people from France and 1,500 from elsewhere in Europe and the rest of the world to get involved in this summer’s magnificent celebration of football.

20,000 children’s smiles

The UEFA Foundation for Children is offering 20,000 EURO 2016 match tickets to associations that work with vulnerable children in France, whether as a result of family problems, social exclusion, health issues or abuse. The youngsters, aged 12 to 16, will be selected from areas in or around the ten host cities.
Tickets will be available for a total of 43 games, i.e. all the group matches (except the opening match) and the round of 16. Each host city will have 2,000 tickets to distribute. The UEFA Foundation for Children is the sole point of contact for the host cities for this project, and the cities themselves are liaising with the local beneficiaries.

European schools tournament: EURO FOOT JEUNES 2016

The host cities of Lens and Lille are hosting a European schools tournament from 29 May to 5 June, just days before the opening match at UEFA EURO 2016.
This event will bring together almost 1,000 boys and girls from the countries of the 30 UEFA member associations not represented at this summer’s finals. The aim is to get all 54 UEFA member countries involved in the greatest celebration of football in Europe.

International solidarity tournament

Some 600 young people from the most disadvantaged communities in Europe and the rest of the world will take part in an international solidarity tournament as part of streetfootballworld Festival 2016, which will run from 30 June to 7 July in conjunction with Sport dans la Ville.
This international community initiative will be a sort of EURO of its own for the young people involved. It will be a celebration of football as a sport that is open to all, a fundamental principle of the game that we hold dear and defend firmly.