The UEFA Foundation for Children supports the Swiss disability sport association

Every child has the right to play football

The Goal Plus project of the Swiss disability association, PluSport, was one of those selected for support by the UEFA Foundation for Children following its call for projects in summer 2016. Goal Plus uses football and the passion it creates to give disabled children the opportunity to get active, have fun and develop team spirit – all of which helps their integration. The Goal Plus project consists of two subprojects: Play Football and From Football to Rafroball – one for youngsters who can walk and the other for those who use wheelchairs.

With the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children, more children and groups can take part in the project, more teams can be set up, weekly training sessions and regular tournaments can be organised, rafroball can be developed for children who cannot play conventional football and rafroball camps organised, coaches can be trained and specialised support staff rewarded for the part they play.

Pascal Torres, secretary general of the UEFA Foundation for Children, says: “The foundation is proud to support the development of all forms of football, including rafroball and blind football, through which football can fulfil its role as a game that all children can enjoy, regardless of their differences and abilities, giving them an opportunity to interact and play with other children and facilitating their integration.”

Note to editors:

PluSport is the umbrella organisation of all disability sport in Switzerland. For more than 50 years, PluSport has been using football to promote disability sport among its 12,000 amateur members through 90 regional clubs, offering a variety of sporting disciplines and organising about 100 camps. PluSport is the co-founder of Swiss Paralympic and also promotes elite sport.

UEFA Foundation for Children backs 12 new projects

The foundation’s board of trustees promotes sport as a vehicle to support vulnerable children.

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s board of trustees, chaired by the former European Commission president, José Manuel Durão Barroso, met in October at the House of European Football in Nyon.

The main items on the meeting agenda included a review of all current activities and campaigns, and the inaugural 2016 UEFA Foundation for Children awards ceremony took place, highlighting the work of the five charitable bodies chosen to receive the awards for their campaigns seeking to promote peace, integration, greater social harmony, respect for differences and non-discrimination: streetfootballworld, Colombianitos, Just Play, Right to Play and Magic Bus.

The board also approved new projects, following on from a call for projects for 2016/17. The board carefully studied the numerous initiatives submitted, which had to meet the following criteria: conformity with the UEFA Foundation for Children’s statutes; credibility of the bodies in question; presentation of a viable budget, including the participation of local partners; and the sustainability value of the projects.

The UEFA Foundation for Children has earmarked €1 million in financial support for 12 new projects, involving programmes designed to help vulnerable, disadvantaged or disabled children across the world.

The following projects will be added to the UEFA foundation’s portfolio:

  • An educational project based on team sports, in particular handball, volleyball, football and basketball, run in partnership with a French non-governmental organisation, CIELO (Coopération internationale pour les équilibres locaux), which is active in Benin, Cameroun and Togo;
  • An initiative aimed at promoting education and life skills in Congo, proposed by Promo Jeune Basket, who have been working with young people in the country for more than ten years. More than 1,000 youngsters have derived benefit from the project;
  • The “Solidarité aveugle” (“Blind solidarity”) project, run by Libre Vue, destined for 150 young blind girls and boys in Mali, and designed to enable them to play football in an appropriate environment – thereby combatting social exclusion and promoting football for all;
  • “Goal Plus”, a project supported by PluSport, an organisation which uses football and other ball games to integrate disabled people in Switzerland;
  • “The Game, The Life”, established by the Swiss NGO IMBEWU, and aimed at supporting disadvantaged children and young people in townships in South Africa in their education and on their life paths, in order to bring about greater equality, tolerance and social cohesion;
  • A project by the Brincar de Rua organisation, which is based and active in the Leiria region of Portugal. The project offers street-playing experiences in urban areas for children aged between 5 and 12. The children are integrated within groups in their neighbourhood, and take part in sporting activities which are beneficial to their health, development and well-being;
  • An educational, health and social inclusion programme for children in disadvantaged communities in Israel and Palestine, to be implemented in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Deir Istiya by Inter Campus, an organisation working with numerous local partners;
  • A programme of education through sport which keeps children occupied and active from when they leave school during the day until the evening – normally a period in the day when they are generally left to their own devices. The programme is run by the Education for Children organisation which is active in Jocotenango, a region of Guatemala marked by extreme poverty, gang crime, drugs and alcohol, as well as by domestic and sexual violence;
  • “Football for All in Vietnam”, a partnership programme between the Football Association of Norway and the Vietnam Football Federation, which promotes education and cultural values through football for young people – in particular girls, minorities and disabled children;
  • Football for Life (F4L) Academy, a specialised educational programme, based on playing and designed for the world’s most marginalised children. Since 2014, in the Philippines, F4L has been using football to help disadvantaged children to continue their schooling and escape from intergenerational poverty, and connects marginalised children with prominent local football players to motivate them;
  • A programme run by Plan Nederland in partnership with Johan Cruyff Foundation, working to reduce early pregnancies and forced marriages among young girls in Nicaragua, using football as a vehicle to make girls more autonomous and reinforce the process of social change. Fathers and boys are being encouraged to actively support the girls;
  • The “Beyond the Pitches’ Green” project run by the Instituto Fazer Acontecer, a non-governmental organisation based in Brazil which promotes sport’s potential as a powerful tool for social change. This project will enable the training of 300 instructors in Football3 methodology, benefitting more than 900 young people from disadvantaged communities in 15 towns across the country.

Inauguration of the Za’atari House of Sports

UEFA Foundation for Children expands its assistance for refugees

A major project financed by the UEFA Foundation for Children has reached fruition today with the inauguration of the House of Sports at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.

The House of Sports, constructed inside the camp, will provide a single umbrella facility for all sports activities there. The venue was officially opened in the presence of representatives of the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UEFA Foundation for Children, and French former international footballer Christian Karembeu.

Prince Ali bin Hussein, AFDP founder, declared: “Every child deserves a nurturing environment, and the displaced children of Syria are no exception. Today, we dedicate to thousands of young refugees a healthy and vibrant space and the necessary tools for engaging in activities that can brighten up their day and, hopefully, their future as well. I wholeheartedly thank the UEFA Foundation for Children for supporting the Asian Football Development Project’s efforts for social change, and for keeping the spark of hope alive among children through football since the opening of the Za’atari refugee camp in 2012.”

“This is an important milestone within our projects at the Za’atari camp,” said Pascal Torres, UEFA Foundation for Children general secretary. “When the foundation decides to finance a project, an important goal is to ensure the continuity of the benefits for the children. Since 2013, men and women have received training to become football coaches and, today, we are inaugurating facilities that will enable all the children in the camp who wish to play sport to do so in a safe environment.”

The UEFA Foundation for Children will now expand its activities in local host communities in Jordan, which are home to many child refugees from Syria and other countries in conflict. The aim of this new initiative is to reinforce the work with Jordanian children and child refugees through socio-educational and sports projects, in particular football. This initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with the Jordanian ministry of education, and will be implemented in 12 schools across the country, with some 15,000 children expected to benefit.

Norman Darmanin Demajo, a member of the foundation’s board of trustees and president of the Malta Football Association, made the trip to the Za’atari camp. “I am very happy to be in Za’atari to see all the work that is being done with children at the camp, and to discover the positive impact that sport has on their daily lives,” he said. “The House of Sports that has been inaugurated today is a major sustainability asset. The foundation will extend its work outside the camp to include local schools in Jordan, with the support of the Jordanian authorities. Through its programmes, the UEFA Foundation for Children aims to address the grassroots of poverty and suffering.”

Football united against the bombing of civilians

Stadium of Trondheim - Norway

Two children from conflict zones to escort the teams onto the pitch at the UEFA Super Cup

This year’s UEFA Super Cup, which will take place on Tuesday 9 August in the Norwegian city of Trondheim and will be contested by Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC, will be used to send a message of peace and solidarity to civilian victims of bombing around the world. During the pre-match ceremony, the two team captains will be escorted onto the field of play by two disabled child refugees who have found sanctuary in Norway – one from Afghanistan and the other from Syria. Together, they will carry the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League trophies out onto the pitch.

The UEFA Foundation for Children is working with Handicap International, which defends the rights of disabled people worldwide, improves their living conditions and helps them to integrate into society. The foundation is also supporting Handicap International’s new worldwide Stop Bombing Civilians campaign, calling for compliance with international law, which prohibits warring parties from targeting civilians and public buildings, with many children often among the victims. The UEFA Foundation for Children’s support for this campaign forms part of its ongoing commitment to assisting child victims of conflict in the areas of health, education, access to sport, personal development, social integration and the protection of children’s rights.

This initiative would not be possible without the support of UEFA, the Football Association of Norway, the UEFA Super Cup’s local organising committee in Trondheim, and Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC. This event will mark the launch of an extensive campaign organised by Handicap International with the aim of mobilising public opinion against the large-scale use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas.

Bombing civilians is not war; it’s a crime.”

Leif Ivar Akselvoll from the Football Association of Norway explains: “The UEFA Super Cup is being contested in Trondheim as part of the centenary celebrations taking place in honour of Rosenborg BK, which has a rich pedigree at both domestic and European level. It is a great honour for us to be staging this match, playing host to the cream of European football. This match and its opening ceremony will send a message of peace, putting the spotlight on children – the future of our world – and highlighting the role that football can play in the area of social integration. We are working hard to make this an event for everyone, and we are looking forward to welcoming all the fans to Trondheim. We align ourselves to the campaign “No to the bombing of civilian!” initiated by Handicap International.”

Manuel Patrouillard, managing director of Handicap International, adds: “The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is unacceptable. Bombing civilians is not war; it’s a crime. There is an urgent need to protect civilian populations and force warring parties to comply with international humanitarian law.”

Handicap International: Following a 30-year campaign against anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions, which led to those weapons being outlawed under the Ottawa Mine Ban Convention of 1997 and the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions of 2008, Handicap International has, since 2011, been calling on the international community to oppose the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. It is currently engaged in an extensive awareness-raising campaign aimed at preventing such practices

Official website:

Campaign against the bombing of civilians in populated areas:

Streetfootballworld festival opens in Lyon

The streetfootballworld Festival16 in Lyon, hosted by the Sport dans la Ville association in the French city and backed by the UEFA Foundation for Children, will involve 500 youngsters from disadvantaged communities worldwide.

Football’s timeless power as a vehicle for social good will take center stage in Lyon in the coming days, as UEFA EURO 2016 moves towards an exciting climax.

The streetfootballworld Festival16, hosted by the Sport dans la Ville association in the French city and backed by the UEFA Foundation for Children, begins on Tuesday and, until 6 July, will feature a packed programme of social and educational events bringing together more than 500 young participants from disadvantaged communities across the world.

The festival gives the opportunity for participants to share in a multicultural experience, increase their awareness of the global impact of football as a force for good, and help their local communities by sharing experiences and knowledge gained from the festival when they return home.

A major attraction during Festival16 will be a football tournament with participants from 50 countries, which will take place on 5 and 6 July as the UEFA EURO 2016 semi-finals get under way. The tournament will be played using football3, a methodology tool incorporating key life lessons into every match.

UEFA Foundation for Children ambassadors will attend this event, and a particular highlight on 5 July will be a UEFA Stars Solidarity Match.

Other activities at Festival16 include a youth forum designed, among other things, to help youngsters develop leadership skills and promote important social messages; a Football for Good summit in which global experts will exchange ideas and opinions on how they use football to inspire social change; and a delegation exchange programme that will foster cultural diversity and integration among participants.

Funds donated to the UEFA foundation by the Swiss watchmaker Hublot, official watch of UEFA EURO 2016, are helping finance the logistical operation at the festival. Official UEFA EURO 2016 airline partner Turkish Airlines is providing travel support for participants.

More details of the streetfootballworld Festival16 can be found here.

The UEFA Foundation for Children is also organising the 20,000 Children’s Smiles initiative which, with the help of a large number of ambassadors, is giving 20,000 disadvantaged children the chance to attend UEFA EURO 2016 matches.

UEFA Foundation for Children defends child refugees’ rights

Thanks to football, the foundation supports children and gives them new prospects for the future.

To mark World Refugee Day on 20 June, the UEFA Foundation for Children reaffirms its support for partner bodies who are working to improve the lives of child refugees, respecting their fundamental rights and their dignity.

Since its creation in April 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children has been involved in projects that defend the rights of child refugees. At the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, the foundation has set up numerous sports activities, as well as a football championship, which enables the children in the camp to play in a safe environment.

In the Middle East, the UEFA foundation is continuing its support work for refugees in Jordan, and is giving financial support to the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP). In Lebanon, the foundation is providing financial assistance to the FC Barcelona Foundation, the Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) and streetfootballworld, which are setting up projects which make use of football to strengthen social cohesion, encourage reconciliation and peaceful coexistence within communities and promote education. Last but not least, the foundation is supporting the Spirit of Soccer project in Iraq, which aims to use the power of football to make children in camps aware of the dangers of anti-personnel landmines and explosive remnants of war.

Thanks to a €2m donation made by UEFA last December, the foundation has earmarked support to countries affected by a huge influx of refugees. In Europe, the foundation is supporting urgent humanitarian projects led by Terre des Hommes (TdH) to assist unaccompanied children and families with children under five years of age in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece.

A portion of this financial support has enabled the creation of a solidarity fund to help child refugees and facilitate their social integration into host communities in Europe. This fund will be made available to NGOs, national associations and the wider football family, with operations coordinated with the streetfootballworld network. So far, 19 organisations in 13 European countries are benefitting from this support fund:

Bosnia-Herzegovina:         Football Friends

France:                    Sport dans la Ville

Georgia:                   Cross Cultures Project Association

Germany:                  Amandla Edufootball, Champions Ohne Grenzen, KICKFAIR, Rheinflanke, Rheinflanke & FC Internationale

Greece:                   Terre des Hommes, Diogenis

Hungary:                  Oltalom Sport Association

Italy:                      Balon Mundial

Netherlands:               Johann Cruyff Foundation

Republic of Ireland/ Northern Ireland:           Sport Against Racism Ireland

Serbia:                    Football Friends

Spain:                     Red Deporte y Cooperación

Ukraine:                   Scort Foundation

United Kingdom:           Sport4Life, Start Again Project, Tigers Sport & Education Trust

In addition, the UEFA Foundation for Children is devoting particular attention to displaced persons in Ukraine. It is supporting the “Play away, Play everywhere” project, led by the Ukrainian Football Federation (FFU), and which aims to facilitate the social integration of displaced children by enabling them to play football.


2016 UEFA Foundation for Children Awards

Recognising community organisations and their role in helping charitable partners

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s decision-making body – the board of trustees, chaired by former European Commission president José Manuel Durão Barroso – held its latest meeting on 13 June at the foundation’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Nominations for the 2016 UEFA Foundation for Children Awards were one of the key items on the agenda. Responsibility for managing and awarding the annual €1 million UEFA Monaco charity award passed from the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee to the UEFA Foundation for Children in 2015, when it became the UEFA Foundation for Children Awards.

The foundation’s board of trustees have established a new selection system to acknowledge and raise the profile of community groups and their contribution to the activities they support. To be eligible for an award, charities must be linked to football, or sport in general, and seek to promote peace, integration, greater social harmony, respect for differences and non-discrimination.

The first UEFA Foundation for Children Award winners are:

  • streetfootballworld: a network that unites more than 100 community organisations behind a common goal – changing the world through football.
  • Colombianitos: a body aiming to improve the quality of life of children and young people and their communities, through sport, recreation, education and health.
  • Just Play: a programme that improves the lives of children in the Pacific region through football.
  • Right To Play: a programme using the power of play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.
  • Magic Bus: a programme that steers children towards a better life with better awareness, better life skills and better opportunities in the journey from childhood to livelihood.

The board of trustees also reviewed all ongoing projects, especially those related to a solidarity fund for migrant and displaced children, which was set up with a €2m donation approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 11 December 2015. Various projects are being implemented to help migrants and displaced children from the Middle East and eastern European countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, and also to support European host countries that are receiving unprecedented numbers of migrants.

In Europe, projects are being put in place in 13 countries in cooperation with 19 different associations. These projects will help more than 30,000 people, of which 65% are migrants and 35% are people active in society, such as coaches and teachers.

In the Middle East, the UEFA Foundation for Children is continuing its support of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon through projects that are using football to promote social cohesion, foster reconciliation and peaceful coexistence within communities, and promote education.

Following the meeting of the foundation’s board of trustees, chairman José Manuel Durão Barroso said: “The UEFA Foundation for Children is already making a difference all over the world. Already today, thousands of children who are underprivileged or living in difficult circumstances are being supported in their daily lives by the Foundation through education and opportunities to play, among other things.

In order to develop our activities we will continue to look for new forms of financing that respect the code of ethics – and we will do this with complete transparency.

We consider that developing our activities hand-in-hand with other organizations whose projects are linked to sport is a sustainable way to increase the results of our work, namely, by promoting deep integration and creating social harmony.”


The UEFA Foundation for Children is currently supporting projects in 44 different countries or territories:

  • 20 in Europe: in Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.
  • 7 in Africa: in Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Uganda.
  • 2 in South America: in Brazil and Colombia.
  • 11 in Oceania: in American Samoa, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
  • 4 in Asia: in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Nepal.

These activities are carried out in partnership with 35 charitable organisations, 12 national football associations and a number of UN agencies.

Putting smiles on faces at UEFA EURO 2016

The UEFA Foundation for Children project 20,000 Children’s Smiles gives 20,000 disadvantaged youngsters the opportunity to attend matches at UEFA EURO 2016.

On the initiative of the UEFA Foundation for Children and in close cooperation with EURO 2016 SAS and the tournament’s host cities, 20,000 Children’s Smiles is giving 20,000 youngsters aged 12 to 18 the opportunity to attend UEFA EURO 2016 matches in their local area.

The project is being rolled out throughout the group stage (not including the opening match) and the round of 16, i.e. at 43 different matches across all ten host cities, with an average of 500 tickets being made available per match.

The project would not have been possible without the support of the host cities, which identified local organisations working day in, day out with young people in difficult situations. The host cities and the UEFA Foundation for Children together have taken care of all the logistics, particularly in terms of administrative support and transport.

The local organisations selected to take part in the project include community centres, rehabilitation centres, medical centres and local football clubs. They will be the ones accompanying the youngsters to the matches. Some of the youngsters were offered this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in exchange for some kind of community service, such as helping to clean up parts of the city. That was the case in Marseille, for example, where a clean-up operation was organised on Prado Beach.

Media representatives looking for more information are invited to contact the project leaders in the different host cities:


Lens Agglo



Marseille   or






A mouth-watering appetiser ahead of UEFA EURO 2016

As a prelude to the real thing this summer, Lille and Lens will soon be put through their paces as they play host to the EURO FOOT Jeunes schools’ tournament.

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), the EURO FOOT Jeunes schools’ tournament is aimed at children all over Europe. This major sporting event, which will take place between 30 May and 5 June in northern France, promises to be an enthralling and highly enjoyable experience for all concerned.

This extraordinary event, which will take place in Lens and Lille, will feature both boys’ and girls’ competitions. A total of 800 players will take part, competing for 32 teams from 25 different countries.

A number of big names from the world of football will be dropping by to show their support, including Rio Mavuba, Laura Georges, Djibril Cissé, Raphaël Varane and Lotta Schelin.

You can watch the official tournament video here: (UNSS’s Facebook account)

Match Schedule here:

Planning Eurofoot Jeunes

Highlights of the event

Monday 30 May

10.30 Opening match of girls’ competition: France v Germany

Attended by the president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie regional council and Olivier Dacourt

Stade François Blin, rue Arthur Lamendin, 62210 Avion

20.00 Opening ceremony and parade of nations

Attended by Patrick Kanner, French minister for urban affairs, youth and sport

Palacium, 2 rue Breughel, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq

21.30 Concert featuring Lord Kossity and Sarahba

Palacium, 2 rue Breughel, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq


Tuesday 31 May

10.30 Girls’ competition: France v Luxembourg

Attended by Djibril Cissé

La Gaillette (RC Lens’s training complex), rue Arthur Lamendin, 62210 Avion

12.30 Children meet and have lunch with French men’s team and Djibril Cissé


Thursday 2 June

11.30 Opening of the EURO FOOT Jeunes village attended by Djibril Cissé

Stadium Lille Métropole, avenue de la Châtellenie, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq


Friday 3 June

16.30 Presentation ceremony for the UNSS Cup – a tournament combining virtual reality and real football for schoolchildren attending collèges in the department of Nord

Stadium Lille Métropole, avenue de la Châtellenie, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq


Saturday 4 June

17.00 Diversity tournament (4 teams; 40 big names invited by the FFF)

Palais Saint Sauveur, 78 avenue du Président John F. Kennedy, 59000 Lille

19.30 Vernissage of Just Play exhibition at Lille City Hall

The UEFA Foundation for Children is taking this opportunity to showcase the Just Play programme, which uses football to foster the education and development of children on Pacific islands. This photo exhibition at Lille City Hall documenting the programme will be open to the public from 4 June.

21.00 Charity dinner in support of Orphelins de Makala (Orphans of Makala), an association set up by Rio Mavuba, and the ISF’s School Sport Foundation

Lille City Hall, place Augustin Laurent, 59000 Lille


Sunday 5 June

13.30 Final of girls’ competition

Stadium Lille Métropole, avenue de la Châtellenie, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq

15.00 Private concert featuring Walshy Fire (Major Lazer), Lord Kossity and Sarahba

15.30 Final of boys’ competition

Stadium Lille Métropole, avenue de la Châtellenie, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq

17.00 Presentation of medals by French internationals Mamadou Sakho, Kheira Hamraoui and Laura Georges

17.30 Closing ceremony


Media representatives wishing to attend the tournament can request an accreditation via the links below:


Contact persons for media enquiries:

Aurélie Bresson (+33 (0)6 59 54 99 17;

Kevin Paris: (+33 (0)6 72 07 11 59;

Local children to escort players at Europa League final in Basel

190 children from various community football projects in Basel are set for an extraordinary adventure.

Having already given 44 disadvantaged children from Seville and Liverpool an unforgettable experience by offering them the chance to be player escorts at the second leg of the two UEFA Europa League semi-finals, FedEx has now donated 100 match tickets for tonight’s final at St. Jakob-Park to community football projects in Basel and the surrounding area.

Among the 100 young fans, 22 children aged between seven and nine will have the privilege of walking out onto the pitch alongside the two teams as player escorts. FedEx, is the main sponsor of the UEFA Europa League and has donated its entire allocation of player escort places for tonight’s final between Liverpool FC and Sevilla FC to the UEFA Foundation for Children.

The recipients of the 100 match tickets have been chosen in cooperation with streetfootballworld, a global non-profit organisation that uses football to drive social change, and its local partner, the Scort Foundation.

Children from four community football projects in the streetfootballworld network have been selected:

  • Dream Team Basel, which organises weekly football training for children and adults with disabilities;
  • SRD Young Stars, an initiative set up by Swiss club SR Delémont, which benefits 21 children with special needs between the ages of 8 and 18;
  • Basel Helps, a project set up in 2015 which organises regular activities and events to build bridges between refugees and the local community;
  • the Pestalozzi Children’s Village, which provides homes, care and education to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The UEFA Foundation for Children has also donated 90 tickets to the Swiss Football Association, which has given them to Next Sport Generation, a foundation that promotes sport for children and adolescents.

“In its first year, the UEFA Foundation for Children has benefited a large number of children in a wide range of places,” said Peter Gilliéron, a member of the foundation’s board of trustees and the Chairman of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee. “This initiative gives football the opportunity to share important values such as solidarity, integration and respect with all children, regardless of their country of origin or social background.”

UEFA foundation and FedEx open community pitch in Madrid

Carlos Marchena inaugurates a new football pitch in Cañada Real district

Children and young people from the Cañada Real district of Madrid, known as one of Spain’s most economically disadvantaged areas, now have a new safe place to play sport. The UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx, the main sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, have given a new football pitch to the Red Deporte y Cooperación, a Madrid-based non-profit organisation that is part of the streetfootballworld network, with the aim of using football to drive social change.

Carlos Marchena, the former Spanish international and European and world champion, took part in today’s inauguration ceremony and joined a training session, to the delight of the children present. The brand-new, fully functional pitch is environmentally sustainable and was built in less than a week. It is equipped with floodlighting and changing facilities, and its innovative and modular design has many advantages, including low running costs.

Pascal Torres, general secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children, said: “It is clear how powerful a tool football can be in uniting communities, and playing football provides an ideal opportunity for children from different backgrounds to integrate, learn and develop. We are delighted that FedEx shares our vision of extending access to football to all, and that by working together we have enabled thousands of children from this diverse community to play and grow together, safely.”

The pitch strengthens the already solid portfolio of the UEFA Foundation for Children, which has recently celebrated its first anniversary. The foundation acted as a facilitator and coordinator, while streetfootballworld, the global non-profit network, developed, managed and implemented the project.

FedEx, the world’s largest express transportation company, provided financial assistance as part of FedEx Cares, a $200m programme aimed at creating opportunities in more than 200 communities by 2020.

Brenda McWilliams-Piatek, vice-president of marketing and communications for FedEx Express Europe, said: “At FedEx, we are absolutely committed to investing socially in the markets where we operate, and this project is an excellent example from our global ‘delivering for good’ programme of how we use our resources and network to provide local communities with access to facilities that would otherwise be out of their reach.”

The UEFA Foundation for Children hopes that this marks the beginning of a sustained collaboration with FedEx.

For more information on FedEx, visit

To find out more about the work of streetfootballworld, visit

UEFA Europa League dream for local children

UEFA foundation and FedEx to create an unforgettable experience for disadvantaged children

Around 200 children from communities in England, Spain and Switzerland are being given the thrill of a lifetime thanks to the UEFA Foundation for Children, FedEx Express and streetfootballworld – the youngsters will watch the exciting climax to this season’s UEFA Europa League live, and attend the teams’ pre-match training sessions.

This is the first collaboration between a sponsor of UEFA and UEFA Children’s Foundation. The programme kicks off at tonight’s UEFA Europa League semi-final second-leg encounters, and will continue at the final at St. Jakob-Park in Basel, Switzerland, on 18 May. At each match, 22 children aged between seven and nine will be living a magic moment, walking out onto the pitch alongside the players as their escorts.

FedEx, the world’s largest express transportation company, is the main sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, and has donated its entire allocation of player escort places at these important matches to the UEFA Foundation for Children, with both organisations working in conjunction with streetfootballworld, the global non-profit network that uses football to drive social change.

The UEFA Foundation for Children, founded just over a year ago, aims to help children and safeguard their rights. Sport, and football in particular, can provide support in the areas of health and education, as well as promoting access to sporting activity, facilitating children’s personal development and fostering the integration of minorities.

Community football teams have been identified from semi-finalist cities Liverpool and Seville, alongside UEFA Europa League final host city Basel. The teams all work with children from disadvantaged backgrounds and use education, support and development through football to give the youngsters a better chance in life.

At the match between Liverpool FC and Villarreal CF, Street League has nominated children from disadvantaged areas of Liverpool who participate in its football-based programmes, while Red Deporte y Cooperación has nominated children from Seville who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds for the match between Sevilla FC and FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

“The UEFA Foundation for Children is delighted to be involved in this splendid initiative,” said the chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, José Manuel Durão Barroso. “Football has an important role to play as a social force and to captivate its youngest enthusiasts. The opportunity for these children to meet top football stars, lead them onto the pitch before thousands of fans and watch the action unfold as spectators will give them not only a great sense of pride, but also an experience that will forever remain in their hearts and memories.”

“The UEFA Europa League offers us the unique ability to connect with communities across Europe,” added Brenda McWilliams-Piatek, FedEx Express’s European marketing vice-president, “and this player escort programme will deliver a truly memorable experience for children from those communities that would otherwise have been out of their reach. We are delighted to be able to give something back to fans that can genuinely make a difference to their lives, and is also a first for sponsorship in the sport.”

“We’re so excited to give this experience to some of the children we work with and thankful to the UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx for delivering us the opportunity,” said Vladimir Borkovic, streetfootballworld network director and chief operating officer. “Many of the young people in our schemes come from disadvantaged backgrounds, so we try to use football to empower and inspire them to help change their lives.”

Media Release 03 – UEFA Foundation board supports eight new projects

The UEFA Foundation for Children strengthens its commitment to defending the rights of vulnerable children worldwide

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s decision-making body, the board of trustees chaired by former European Commission president José Manuel Durão Barroso, held its latest meeting yesterday at the Foundation’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

The meeting agenda included a review of all current ongoing projects, followed by the ratification of new initiatives to be added to the Foundation’s portfolio in the coming months. The amount of €1.1m will be invested in new projects to be implemented on three continents over a period of several years.

Selected initiatives meet the following criteria: correspondence with the Foundation’s statutes; credibility of the partner organisations; presentation of a viable budget with local partners; and viability of the activities.

The meeting saw the Foundation commit financial support to eight new projects:

  • Establishment of a media library for street children in Ziguinchor (Senegal) in partnership with the Bibliothèque sans Frontière association. This initiative aims to facilitate access to education for street children, in particular young girls involved in child labour. Some 7,500 children are expected to benefit from this apprenticeship tool.
  • Health and social integration through sport in Ireland: This initiative, which comes under the patronage of the John Giles Foundation, aims to promote sporting activities within disadvantaged communities in Ireland; prevent obesity and social exclusion; and help to strengthen club structures and local entities, in order to foster the social integration of vulnerable sectors of the population.
  • Improvement of living conditions of street children in Luanda (Angola): This project, an initiative of SAMU International in partnership with the Arnold Janssen Centre, aims to improve and facilitate access to basic social services for children and young people living on the streets in Luanda. Another objective of this project is to develop socio-sporting activities by making football a support activity. UNICEF estimates that 5,000 children and young people live on the streets of Luanda.
  • A programme tackling social exclusion in Burkina Faso: This programme, organised by SAMU International, aims to combat the social exclusion of street children, and seeks to help them get off the streets through family assistance and professional training. UNICEF estimates that 3,500 children live on the streets of Ouagadougou.
  • Raising awareness of the dangers of mines, and awareness of football in Iraq: Led by Spirit of Soccer, the objective of this project is to reduce the risk of accidents linked to mines and other unexploded munitions that endanger children living in risk areas. In addition, the initiative enables the development of sporting activities for displaced sections of the population. According to estimates, 25,000 children live in camps in Iraq.
  • Inclusive education for the children of East Jerusalem: This project, which comes under the patronage of Terre des Hommes Italy, aims to improve school infrastructures and enable access to sport in the poorer areas of East Jerusalem. The initiative will provide help to 4,700 children and some 200 teachers at ten schools.
  • One Goal for Education: The European Football for Development Network (EFDN) is active in five European countries: Belgium, England, Israel, Netherlands and Scotland. This project aims to foster the personal development of children aged 8 to 15 through playing football; support vulnerable children in the education system; strengthen self-esteem and promote tolerance; and create a guide and e-learning platform to ensure the sustainability of the project. Between 1,000 and 1,500 children will benefit from this initiative.
  • The “Play for Change” programme in Nepal: Launched by the association of the same name, the project aims to ensure access to sport for vulnerable children, in particular young girls; the objective is also to establish sporting activities and local leagues within the schools, and to develop training for coaches and teachers in local communities.

Following the Foundation board of trustees’ meeting, chairman José Manuel Durão Barroso said: “We are satisfied at being able to work on new projects of quality with trusted partners, and in very diverse regions. Together and from today, we are going to work to defend the rights of the poorest children, and support them – through education, health initiatives, social inclusion and access to sport – to enable them to envisage a better future.”

Further information

The official UEFA Foundation for Children website:



Media contact:

Media Release 02 – Football United for Peace

A human chain created by 1,000 children, together with the players and the referee team, to promote peace and unity

The UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC, which will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Tuesday 11 August, will feature a historic moment in the world of football. For the first time, the opening ceremony will include a human chain: a symbolic act involving the players, the referee team and 1,000 disadvantaged children and accompanying adults from Georgia and eight neighbouring countries. The aim of this shared initiative by the Georgian Football Federation (GFF) and the UEFA Foundation for Children is to spread a powerful message: ‘Football United for Peace’.

Tbilisi is the easternmost European city to host the UEFA Super Cup since 2012, when the match left Monaco, where it had been played since 1998. Other cities can now host this encounter between the previous season’s winners of the two major European club competitions: the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. The GFF, with the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children, decided to seize this opportunity to send a strong message by giving the spotlight to children from conflict zones in Europe, conveying the idea of peace and unity, and showing how football can bring people together. The national football associations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine all responded positively to this initiative.

The president of the GFF, Zviad Sichinava, said: “Everyone will receive a message of peace and unity from the children – a message that is important for society. The inclusion of this message in the pre-match ceremony shows how important these core values are to UEFA – values which led to the inauguration of the UEFA Foundation for Children. I would like to thank all the participating associations for their support in working together to use football’s vast popularity as a platform to promote these vital values to a global audience.”

UEFA President Michel Platini added: “Football gives us a great opportunity to be united as a society, and to empower children. Childhood is a time when we exhibit the most extraordinary potential, and we hope that the presence of these children at this great occasion in Tbilisi can be inspirational for their futures. We would like to thank the Georgian Football Federation and its president, Zviad Sichinava, for the work undertaken with the UEFA Foundation for Children in order to make a difference to vulnerable children through this project.”

The UEFA Foundation for Children was established in 2015 on the initiative of the UEFA President, reflecting UEFA’s desire to use football as a force for good in society. A number of humanitarian and development programmes are being conducted by the foundation around the world. Furthermore, earlier this year a number of children were invited to the UEFA Europa League final in Warsaw, the UEFA Champions League final in Berlin, and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final in Prague.

Further information

The official UEFA Foundation for Children website:



Media contact:

Media Release 01 – UEFA Foundation for Children gets off the ground : Four initial projects to help disadvantaged children

The UEFA Foundation for Children was established on the initiative of the UEFA President, Michel Platini, reflecting the desire of European football’s governing body to play a more active role in society. The UEFA Foundation for Children is governed by Swiss law and has been operational since March 2015.

For many years UEFA has supported initiatives and programmes that help disadvantaged children throughout Europe and beyond. Now, the UEFA Foundation for Children has taken over and is stepping up these activities to help promote children’s fundamental rights as expressed in international conventions, according to which a child is a person in their own right, has rights of their own and should be able to assert those rights. The foundation is active in various domains such as health, education, access to sport, law, personal development and the integration of minorities.

The board of trustees met for the first time on 23 March 2015 in Vienna. José Manuel Durão Barroso, former president of the European Commission, was elected for a four-year term as chairman of the board. The other trustees are (in alphabetical order): Sándor Csányi (president of the Hungarian Football Federation and founder of the Csányi Foundation for Children), Norman Darmanin Demajo (president of the Malta Football Association and founder of the Time2Think Organisation), Peter Gilliéron (president of the Swiss Football Association and chairman of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee), Margarita Louis-Dreyfus (chairperson of the supervisory board of Louis-Dreyfus Holding B.V. and president of the Louis-Dreyfus Foundation), Michel Platini (UEFA President) and Viviane Reding (member of the European Parliament).

At its inaugural meeting, the board of trustees approved a series of initial projects in favour of disadvantaged children:

  • Football in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan: initiated by UEFA in 2013, the foundation has taken over this project, helping children displaced by the conflict in Syria by organising sports activities, training for football coaches and tournaments for girls and boys living in the refugee camp.
  • Just Play: the foundation has also taken over this project in the Pacific, which was set up by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and UEFA and has received numerous awards already. The aim is to encourage physical activity among 6 to 12-year-olds and to promote healthy lifestyles to counter the problem of child obesity that affects much of the Pacific region.
  • Three projects linked to UEFA EURO 2016 in France: the foundation will organise activities throughout the tournament next summer in support of a series of projects designed with the rights of the child in mind.
  • Autism project: the foundation will work with the International Foundation of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH) to improve the lives of autistic children and their families.

José Manuel Durão Barroso said: “UEFA’s commitment in setting up this foundation embodies a desire that has always inspired me, to reach out to those most in need by turning the fundamental values of European civilisation – human dignity, solidarity and hope – into opportunities for our children to improve their lives. Together, we must act to guarantee them a future full of promise. Because by acting on behalf of children today we are shaping the society of tomorrow.”

Further information:

The official UEFA Foundation for Children website:



Media contact: