UEFA Foundation for Children inaugurates Lay’s RePlay pitch in Bilbao, Spain

UEFA Foundation for Children inaugurates Lay's RePlay pitch in Bilbao, Spain

The new field has been built in the Errekalde sports center and will be inaugurated leading up to the UEFA Women's Champions League final.

Bilbao, May 23rd, 2024.- Lay's RePlay has inaugurated this morning its first pitch in Bilbao (Errekalde) aimed at supporting young women at risk of exclusion through soccer in the framework of the UEFA Women's Champions League final.

The launch of the initiative has been made possible thanks to the support of Lay's and its key collaborating partners as the UEFA Foundation for Children, Common Goal, Bilbao Kirolak (Bilbao City Council) and Fundazioa (Athletic Club Foundation).

With this new space, the partners will promote an inclusive sports program that will foster the social development of young migrant women between the ages of 12 to 18 to strengthen not only their socioemotional skills, but also their sense of belonging, tolerance, respect, commitment, teamwork and collaboration in the community. In this sense, UEFA Foundation and Lay's RePlay seek to contribute to gender equality in sports, training and educating girls and women to actively participate in the soccer environment.

A full program will be run on an ongoing basis that will include different activities from, for example, improving soccer skills to developing communication or teamwork, key social skills for the development and growth of the players.

Johana Ruiz de Olabuenaga, Director of the Social Area of Athletic Club, concludes: "At Athletic Club Fundazioa we are committed to the integral development of people through sport. Lay's RePlay gives us the opportunity to work in collaboration with other key players that support our goal of promoting gender equality and social inclusion through soccer. We are confident that this initiative will have a great impact on the young women of Bilbao and their communities".

 

The girls will participate in a league in different educational centers aimed at students and family members with players from Athletic Club's first and second teams. In addition, players from Athletic Club's men's and women's teams will be involved, with the particular participation of female athletes, who will serve as role models for the young girls to look up to and be inspired by.

The program will also include integration activities and events for the participants and their families that will serve to strengthen ties with the community. The goal of the women's training sessions is to form three teams aimed at empowering women in soccer, particularly in the migrant communities of Errekalde and Ibaiondo.

Lay's RePlay represents our commitment to sport and sustainability. We are excited to open this camp in Bilbao and to be able to offer young girls in the community the opportunity to grow and develop through soccer

- Derica Lascorz, Lay's Southwest Europe Marketing Manager

About Lay's

Project partner

Lay's is one of the brands that makes up Frito-Lay North America, the $23 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. (Nasdaq: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website, http://www.fritolay.com/ and on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/fritolay. Learn more about Lay's by visiting www.facebook.com/lays or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lays. You can also follow Lay's on Instagram by visiting http://instagram.com/lays

About Common Goal

Project Partner

Common Goal is a global impact movement that exists to unite the football community in tackling the biggest challenges of our times. The movement creates opportunities for every stakeholder of the football economy to play a meaningful role in serving the wellbeing of our people and planet.

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Copy of Kick It Out: UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx bring greater diversity to UK football coaching.

Kick It Out: UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx bring greater diversity to UK football coaching.

FedEx Express Europe and the UEFA Foundation for Children have announced a new charitable collaboration with Kick It Out, a UK non-profit advocating for diversity in football and specifically the development of black and Asian adults pursuing the professions in football coaching and management.

Now in its third year, ‘Championing an Inclusive Future through Football’ was designed by the UEFA foundation in partnership with FedEx, a long-term donor and sponsor of UEFA tournaments. Kick It Out is the third non-profit to receive funding from the UEFA Foundation for Children thanks to a Charities Aid Foundation grant on FedEx's behalf.

Kick It Out will use the funding to support its Coach Pathway Programme which encourages ethnic minorities to remain and develop in coaching and management positions.

Troy Townsend MBE, head of player engagement at Kick It Out, said:

“There is a lack of black and Asian managers, coaches and talent ID scouts in professional English football. Thanks to this collaboration with the UEFA foundation, Kick It Out has managed to provide funded opportunities for a number of people from underrepresented backgrounds.”

A cohort of 15 individuals have been selected and taken on a journey of continuous professional development, with access to mentors, coaching observation opportunities and talent ID interactions with specific support from The FA and the Premier League.

Urs Kluser, the general secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children, said:

“We’re delighted to continue the diversity, equity, and inclusion programme we developed with FedEx, by welcoming Kick It Out as a new delivery partner. This programme has allowed us to target financial support to non-profits using football as a useful tool to promote diversity and inclusion in communities, specifically among children. This year’s programme shifts the focus from children to young adults, benefitting a non-profit that uses football to promote diversity and aims to improve and maintain diversity from a grassroots level to professional levels of the sport itself.”

Wouter Roels, SVP marketing operations, FedEx Express Europe, said:

“Throughout our journey as a sponsor of professional football, FedEx has been fortunate to see the tremendous value of the work being done by the network of non-profits throughout Europe and the world. Together with the UEFA Foundation for Children, we continue to identify ways to best use our charitable platform. FedEx Cares, to support organisations working in the shadows of professional football to influence positive change either through or within the sport.”

Alongside charitable funding, FedEx and the UEFA Foundation for Children will work together to donate one aspect of FedEx’s sole and exclusive sponsorship rights – the opportunity to provide three player mascots for the 2024 UEFA Champions League final in Wembley– to children put forward by Kick It Out.

Read more about the impact of this three-year programme and the previous year’s charitable collaborations on UEFA Foundation for Children’s website here.

There is a lack of black and Asian managers, coaches and talent ID scouts in professional English football. Thanks to this collaboration with the EFA foundation, Kick It Out has managed to provide funded opportunities for a number of people from underrepresented backgrounds.

- Troy Townsend MBE, head of player engagement at Kick It Out

About FedEx

Project partner

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce, and business services. With annual revenue of $88 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively, operating collaboratively, and innovating digitally as one FedEx. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 500,000 employees to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. FedEx is committed to connecting people and possibilities around the world responsibly and resourcefully, with a goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040.

About Kick It Out

Project Partner

Marking its 30th anniversary this season, Kick It Out is English football’s most recognised anti-discrimination charity and uses its voice to call out discrimination and offer solutions for change. Over the last two seasons, more than 2,000 people have signed up to our online education website, The Academy, and in-person education has been delivered to almost 200 perpetrators of discrimination and to over 4,500 players, parents and staff in club academies. Kick It Out also helps develop talent from under-represented communities and offers a widely-used reporting tool that participants can use to help tackle discrimination whether it’s in a stadium, online or in grassroots football. Kick It Out’s Impact Report showed that fans have regarded football as safer and more welcoming over the last three decades as a result of the charity’s work but that much more needed to be done to tackle discrimination. We continue that work to make the game more inclusive for all.

Contact: Becky Gee, becky@kickitout.org

 

Kick It Out: UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx bring greater diversity to UK football coaching.

Kick It Out: UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx bring greater diversity to UK football coaching.

FedEx Express Europe and the UEFA Foundation for Children have announced a new charitable collaboration with Kick It Out, a UK non-profit advocating for diversity in football and specifically the development of black and Asian adults pursuing the professions in football coaching and management.

Now in its third year, ‘Championing an Inclusive Future through Football’ was designed by the UEFA foundation in partnership with FedEx, a long-term donor and sponsor of UEFA tournaments. Kick It Out is the third non-profit to receive funding from the UEFA Foundation for Children thanks to a Charities Aid Foundation grant on FedEx's behalf.

Kick It Out will use the funding to support its Coach Pathway Programme which encourages ethnic minorities to remain and develop in coaching and management positions.

Troy Townsend MBE, head of player engagement at Kick It Out, said:

“There is a lack of black and Asian managers, coaches and talent ID scouts in professional English football. Thanks to this collaboration with the UEFA foundation, Kick It Out has managed to provide funded opportunities for a number of people from underrepresented backgrounds.”

A cohort of 15 individuals have been selected and taken on a journey of continuous professional development, with access to mentors, coaching observation opportunities and talent ID interactions with specific support from The FA and the Premier League.

Urs Kluser, the general secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children, said:

“We’re delighted to continue the diversity, equity, and inclusion programme we developed with FedEx, by welcoming Kick It Out as a new delivery partner. This programme has allowed us to target financial support to non-profits using football as a useful tool to promote diversity and inclusion in communities, specifically among children. This year’s programme shifts the focus from children to young adults, benefitting a non-profit that uses football to promote diversity and aims to improve and maintain diversity from a grassroots level to professional levels of the sport itself.”

Wouter Roels, SVP marketing operations, FedEx Express Europe, said:

“Throughout our journey as a sponsor of professional football, FedEx has been fortunate to see the tremendous value of the work being done by the network of non-profits throughout Europe and the world. Together with the UEFA Foundation for Children, we continue to identify ways to best use our charitable platform. FedEx Cares, to support organisations working in the shadows of professional football to influence positive change either through or within the sport.”

Alongside charitable funding, FedEx and the UEFA Foundation for Children will work together to donate one aspect of FedEx’s sole and exclusive sponsorship rights – the opportunity to provide three player mascots for the 2024 UEFA Champions League final in Wembley– to children put forward by Kick It Out.

Read more about the impact of this three-year programme and the previous year’s charitable collaborations on UEFA Foundation for Children’s website here.

There is a lack of black and Asian managers, coaches and talent ID scouts in professional English football. Thanks to this collaboration with the EFA foundation, Kick It Out has managed to provide funded opportunities for a number of people from underrepresented backgrounds.

- Troy Townsend MBE, head of player engagement at Kick It Out

About FedEx

Project partner

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce, and business services. With annual revenue of $88 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively, operating collaboratively, and innovating digitally as one FedEx. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 500,000 employees to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. FedEx is committed to connecting people and possibilities around the world responsibly and resourcefully, with a goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040.

About Kick It Out

Project Partner

Marking its 30th anniversary this season, Kick It Out is English football’s most recognised anti-discrimination charity and uses its voice to call out discrimination and offer solutions for change. Over the last two seasons, more than 2,000 people have signed up to our online education website, The Academy, and in-person education has been delivered to almost 200 perpetrators of discrimination and to over 4,500 players, parents and staff in club academies. Kick It Out also helps develop talent from under-represented communities and offers a widely-used reporting tool that participants can use to help tackle discrimination whether it’s in a stadium, online or in grassroots football. Kick It Out’s Impact Report showed that fans have regarded football as safer and more welcoming over the last three decades as a result of the charity’s work but that much more needed to be done to tackle discrimination. We continue that work to make the game more inclusive for all.

Contact: Becky Gee, becky@kickitout.org

 

UEFA Youth League final delighted football fans in our region

UEFA Youth League final delighted football fans in our region

Special community activity for finalists Olympiacos and AC Milan

 

The UEFA Youth League has now been developing talent for over a decade, but it is also helping to ensure players become well-rounded individuals thanks to dedicated educational and social initiatives.

The UEFA Foundation for Children feels it is very important to take part in this event to create awareness of our mission within UEFA in the region, by involving younger and older football fans from the local community. We are present in the Youth Plaza running a booth with fun activities and the possibility to take part in an educational quiz about football but also on the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

One of the highlights of this tournament is the opportunity for social interaction between the finalist players and youngsters who are facing difficulties in their daily lives. This meet and greet serves a dual purpose: for the players who are embarking on their professional careers, it is a way to realise how lucky they are and their responsibility as future role models for young people. For our young participants, it is an opportunity to share special moments that provide them with the energy to persevere and build a better life for themselves.

Thanks to our partnership with Rêves Suisse, we had the opportunity to welcome children from two local hostels to the UEFA campus. These hostels are a haven for children aged between 6 and 18 years old who cannot remain in their family environment due to concerns about their upbringing and safety. These facilities are structured to cater to each child's unique needs.

Our young guests had a chance to warm up before meeting some players from finalists Milan and Olympiacos. They trained and played a short friendly match together. Later, they were taken on a tour of UEFA headquarters, visited the VAR room, and had lunch in the UEFA restaurant with all the players.

Anna (alias), said, "I hadn't played football until today, but I had a lot of fun. I liked meeting the players the most – they were very kind to me."

Dennis (alias), added, "I was excited to meet the Milan players. We were able to kick a ball around for a long time. That was a magic moment for me."

This edition not only allowed us to fulfil our objectives, but also to make a dream come true for Yohan, a quadriplegic diehard Nantes FC fan who travelled 850km with his mother to come and support his club’s youth team. On his arrival, we surprised him with a meet and greet with the tournament’s ambassador, Christian Karembeu, who started his football career at Nantes.

The foundation invited 30 dreamers of Rêves Suisse to attend the semi-finals and the final of the UEFA Youth League 2024, at which Olympicos ultimately raised the trophy.

UEFA Foundation for Children inaugurates Lay’s RePlay pitch in Santa Marta, Colombia

UEFA Foundation for Children inaugurates Lay's RePlay pitch in Santa Marta, Colombia

Together with partners Margarita RePlay®, Fundación Tiempo de Juego, Fundación PepsiCo Colombia and Common Goal, the UEFA Foundation provides local community with a safe space to play football.

Perfect ten! The UEFA Foundation, Margarita RePlay®, Fundación Tiempo de Juego, Fundación PepsiCo Colombia and Common Goal are proud to unveil the tenth sustainable RePlay pitch in Santa Marta, Columbia.

Made of recycled bags of chips, RePlay pitches provide five-a-side and training facilities that are ideal for communities with limited access to spaces, where they can enjoy the game and develop their skills.

First launched in 2021 in South Africa, the programme has seen other pitches come to life in Brazil, Egypt, the USA, Italy, Mexico, the UK and Turkey, benefitting 1.200 participants per month.

The initiative results from strong partnerships with local associations, building spaces and programmes that bring people together and drive positive change for generations to come.

Urs Kluser from the UEFA Foundation for Children:

"UEFA is proud to be part of a new launch of Margarita RePlay®, which will benefit a new community. By bringing this initiative to Colombia, we hope to improve the opportunities of young people through the power of football by providing them with key life and social skills".

RePlay facilities are much more than just pitches. In addition to artificial turf for five-a-side football, the local communities can access tailored education programmes focusing on four key areas: creating a sense of belonging, boosting engagement, promoting safety, and ensuring access to sport.

The new football field in Santa Marta will benefit at least 500 members of the local community through targeted events and programmes, with Fundación Tiempo de Juego delivering 20 hours of football to 150 participants every week, focused on:

  • Increasing skills connected to environmental care through sports and playful learning.
  • Promoting social fabric and coexistence through play-based community events.
  • Providing meaningful sports activities to youth to foster social-emotional skills.
  • Increasing participation of females in the community in football activities to 50%.

The initiative combines the fun and passion of football by creating a field that encourages the spirit of belonging and drives benefits for the surrounding communities”.

- Daniel Velásquez, Marketing Sr Director of PepsiCo for Andean Region

About Lay's

Project partner

Lay's is one of the brands that makes up Frito-Lay North America, the $23 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. (Nasdaq: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website, http://www.fritolay.com/ and on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/fritolay. Learn more about Lay's by visiting www.facebook.com/lays or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lays. You can also follow Lay's on Instagram by visiting http://instagram.com/lays

About Common Goal

Project Partner

Common Goal is a global impact movement that exists to unite the football community in tackling the biggest challenges of our times. The movement creates opportunities for every stakeholder of the football economy to play a meaningful role in serving the wellbeing of our people and planet.

.

 

Activity report 2022/23

Activity report 2022/23

Dear Friends,

It is often said that our shared strength, kindness and bravery are most evident during challenging times. Unfortunately, the past year has been marked by a series of devastating events, putting humanity to the ultimate test, and we find ourselves still navigating through uncertain times.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues unabated, and a newly distressing situation has emerged in the Middle East, where millions of civilians and children are suffering the repercussions. Additionally, we must not forget the tragic loss of 50,000 lives in the catastrophic earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria last February, with many more injured and displaced from their homes, still dealing with the aftermath.

During this turbulent period, the UEFA Foundation for Children remains unwavering in its commitment to helping the most vulnerable, with a particular emphasis on young children and girls, refugees and internally displaced people.

We are all familiar with stories that underscore football’s profound influence on people’s lives. However, this report sheds light on an often-overlooked aspect, which deserves more recognition: our beloved sport inspires millions of children worldwide, nurturing their dreams and aspirations for a more promising future, in a world where every child is acknowledged and respected.

This activity report outlines various projects undertaken in 2022/23, showcasing the tangible positive impact on children's lives globally. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our partners for their exceptional efforts, and for the love, care and respect they have shown to the generations of tomorrow.

Access to the online report.

 

 

 

Johan Cruyff Foundation, Pelé Foundation and UEFA Foundation for Children collaborate to create a safe place to play in Santos.

Johan Cruyff Foundation, Pelé Foundation and UEFA Foundation for Children collaborate to create a safe place to play in Santos.

The global initiative giving packaging a new purpose brings a new pitch to IztapalapaThis new facility is the 300th Cruyff Court worldwide and will havea huge impact on a vulnerable community.

The Johan Cruyff Foundation has just opened the Cruyff Court Pelé in Santos (São Paulo, Brazil) in a touching ceremony that paid tribute to two footballing legends. This new facility, the 300th Cruyff Court worldwide, marks a milestone for the charity and is set to have a significant impact in Dique da Vila Gilda, one of the city’s most socially vulnerable neighborhoods. Susila Cruyff, the daughter of Johan Cruyff and board member of the Cruyff Foundation, attended the opening, which was a festive and enthusiastic celebration of the favela that saw local kids take part in a football match.

Santos, home to Santos FC – one of Brazil’s most storied clubs, where Pelé and other greats of the game plied their trade – was chosen as the setting for the latest Cruyff Court. The result of a collaboration between the Cruyff Foundation, the UEFA Foundation for Children and the Pelé Foundation, the new facility will cater to children and young people from local neighborhoods who are directly affected by the lack of socio-educational activities in the favela, which is the largest stilt community in Latin America.

Susila Cruyff spoke about how the Cruyff Court Pelé will benefit kids and youngsters for whom sport is not a guaranteed part of life: “My father always had a special connection with Pelé, and it’s either through luck or coincidence that we’re here opening the 300th Cruyff Court in their names. Both came from a similar background, they started playing on the streets, they were self-made footballers and still live on in people’s memories as legends. They can be a great inspiration for this area. We believe this court could be a life-changing experience for these kids and something positive for the community.”

Joe Fraga, Pele’s agent and a representative of the Pelé Foundation, said: “The opportunities the Cruyff Court Pelé will bring to this community, and more specifically the children of Santos, will continue to cement the amazing legacy of two of the greatest players in history. The bond between Johan and Edson [Pelé] is as strong as ever with this 300th court. The Pelé Foundation is honored to partner with the Cruyff Foundation on this very special and inspiring project.”

Urs Kluser, General Secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children, said: “The UEFA Foundation for Children is very proud to support the Johan Cruyff Foundation with the opening of its 300th pitch. Like the previous ones [this is the fifth supported by the UEFA Foundation], the pitch is a great support for the community and the children who will have a safe place to play. At the same time, this pitch is special, not only because it is the 300th court, but also because it will represent the names of two legends in Cruyff and Pelé.”

Both of these iconic players learned all about the game on the streets, which will serve as a huge inspiration to local children who use the facility in the future. Cruyff believed in the considerable power of sport and its influence on the development of children and young people. Indeed, those beliefs are at the heart of his foundation, an organisation that is committed to creating spaces for children from all over the world to develop physically, mentally, and socially, as it builds alliances with like-minded local partners.

A Cruyff Court is a social platform that uses sport and Johan Cruyff’s 14 rules to provide children and young people with integral development, inclusion, and citizenship training and an opportunity to broaden their prospects for a balanced socio-affective future, based on respectful relationships developed in a safe environment.

 

About this project

The Cruyff Foundation runs projects in more than 20 countries worldwide. The Cruyff Court Pelé marks the milestone 300th Cruyff Court in the world and the fourth in Brazil. In this particular project, 14 local coaches received training to become Cruyffian coaches during a two-day course held on 6/7 December that taught them all about Johan Cruyff’s philosophy, including the 14 rules that they can use to motivate the kids.

This project sees the Cruyff Foundation partner with the Instituto Plataforma Brasil (IPB), a non-profit civil society organisation that encourages young people to take on leading roles in transforming the communities where they live. “It is a dream come true to be able to give the community this space to enjoy, to play in, and to forget for a moment all the challenges of daily life. To offer the best possible facility to those who need it most provokes a movement of change that has the Cruyff Court as a starting point and expands from there on. That way, it is possible to contribute to the personal development of the kids of the community and a more just society. That is wonderful!” said Joëlke Offringa, IPB president.

The Johan Cruyff Foundation also linked up with the Instituto Arte no Dique, which is also a not-for-profit civil society institution that has been carrying out major sociocultural work with the population of Dique da Vila Gilda since 2002. Other local partners are COHAB Santista, the Vopak We Connect Foundation, and local companies Signify, AkzoNobel, and Parque Balneário Hotel Santos.

 

 

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

Solidarity trip to Sri Lanka, September–October 2023

Solidarity trip to Sri Lanka, September–October 2023

The UEFA Foundation for Children and UEFA’s HR team organised the fourth solidarity trip, this time to Sri Lanka.

In September, the UEFA Foundation for Children and UEFA’s HR team organised a fourth solidarity trip, this time to Sri Lanka. Six members of UEFA staff took time out of their busy lives to take part in the project and help renovate a primary school in Karagoda Uyangoda, a remote village in the jungle of Matara district, in the south of the island.

The aim of these trips is to offer a different kind of travel experience that involves engaging with and helping local communities. The organisation Unis Vers le Sport identified the project and organised host families in the village.

 

Our brief was to renovate the local school. We painted the inside walls of four classrooms and some of the outside walls. We had also planned to distribute surplus sports equipment from UEFA competitions and school supplies purchased in Sri Lanka. We were hoping to spend time with the schoolchildren too, and do sports activities and handicrafts with them.

Unfortunately, the weather did not play ball. The rainy season was unusually long and the school was closed when we arrived. We remained hopeful, however, and set to work paining the first classrooms.

We stayed with families in the village, with whom we shared breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our hosts were very welcoming. We also experienced life in the rainforest, seeing peacocks, monkeys and monitor lizards and hearing all sorts of other wild animals, especially at night. It was an incredible change of scenery and would have been perfect if had not been for the incessant rain, which flooded the area and cut off the village.

In the end, we decided to leave earlier than planned, without having met the schoolchildren. Morale was low that day, with a sense that we were abandoning our hosts without finishing the job. Since the village was surrounded by water, the Sri Lankan navy came to pick us up. The villagers accompanied us to the boat. It was a heartbreaking departure.

We relocated to Mirissa, a small town on the Indian Ocean. From there, we followed the coast up as far as Galle, where we visited Buddhist temples and the fortified old town that bears witness to the country’s colonial past.

For Paulo, one of the founders of Unis Vers le Sport, this was a solidarity trip like no other.

Our small team was fantastic and stuck together despite the challenges we faced, which seemed extreme to us but were nothing out of the ordinary for the locals. In the end, it was a many very positive personal and human experience that will remain etched in our memories.

Another team will finish renovating the little primary school in Karagoda Uyangoda in February, and who knows, perhaps some of our group will also return to meet the children and distribute materials on behalf of the foundation.

 

 

64 projects receive grants from the UEFA Foundation for Children

64 projects receive grants from the UEFA Foundation for Children

A total of €4.5m will benefit children in need all over the world.>

he UEFA Foundation for Children board of trustees held its twice yearly meeting at UEFA headquarters last Wednesday. Chaired by Aleksander Čeferin, it decided to allocate funding to 64 projects, as part of the foundation’s mission to defend vulnerable children’s rights around the world so that they can look forward to a better future.

Most projects use sport, and in particular football, to address topics such as access to sports and recreation, physical and mental health, education, integration and many other societal issues.

In accordance with the board’s decision, half of the budget is allocated to European projects (28) and the other half to projects in the rest of the world (36).

Andrea Radrizzani, UEFA Foundation for Children board member said:

“The UEFA Foundation has selected 64 projects to support NGOs across 71 countries, all of them are aligned with our vision to empower children’s education, and gender equality and inspire new generations through the power of football.”

 

List of NGOs selected from the 2023 call for project.

 

Partner Countries
EUROPE
Save the Children Albania Albania
NGO Bridge of Hope Armenia
Kicken ohne Grenzen Austria
Children’s Football Alliance Belgium, Italy, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland
Royal Europa '90 Kraainem Football Club Belgium
OFK BIHAC Bosnia and Herzegovina
Association for Sport, Recreation and Education – Youth Games Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia
Children of Prisoners Europe Europe
Bibliothèques Sans Frontières France
Spirit of Football e.V. Germany
Orama Neon YOUTHORAMA NGO Greece
Oltalom Sport Association Hungary
Amigos for Children Foundation Hungary
The Icelandic Youth Association Iceland
A New Way Israel
Calciosociale ssdrl Italy
KFV Prishtina Kosovo
Vilnius social club Lithuania
NGO Parents Montenegro
Stichting Het Gehandicapte Kind Netherlands
Stowarzyszenie Trenuj Bycie Dobrym Poland
United Way Romania Romania
Development Center for Youth Serbia
Fundación Grandes Valores (Fútbal Más Foundation) Spain
Bonyan Organization Turkey and Syria
Big Hearts Community Trust United Kingdom
Klitschko Foundation Ukraine
Around Football Ukraine
REST OF THE WORLD
AFRICA
Malaika Democratic Republic of Congo
Terre des Hommes, Egypt Egypt
Power for the People Kenya
Mathare Youth Sports Association Kenya
Association TIBU Maroc Morocco
Cross Cultures Project Association Nigeria
AKA (Association Kenskoazell Afrika) Senegal
Samusocial International Senegal
AMANDLA Ku Lutsha T/A AMANDLA Social Enterprises South Africa
Karibu Tanzania Organization Tanzania
Fondation Khuon Zimbabwe
OCEANIA
All In: Girls Play Pacific Islands
ASIA
Action for Development Afghanistan
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan Afghanistan
SALT Academy Cambodia
Plan International Hong Kong China
Krida Vikas Sanstha (SlumSoccer) India
ASA Foundation Indonesia
Association Football Development Programme Global Jordan
Tawazon Initiative for Development Lebanon
University of Milano-Bicocca – MaRHE Center Maldives
Atoot Nepal
Palestine: Sports for Life Palestine
FundLife International Philippines
Help Without Frontiers Thailand
The Football Association of Norway/Football for All in Vietnam (NFF/FFAV) Vietnam
Medair Yemen
CENTRAL AMERICA
GOLEES Foundation Costa Rica
Johan Cruyff Foundation Curaçao
Asociación de Maestros de Educación Temprana Plantando Semillas Guatemala
Educate Honduras
SOUTH AMERICA
Asociacion Civil Andar Argentina
love.fútbol Brasil Brazil
WAPA International Colombia
Scort Foundation Ecuador
NGO Mama Alice Peru

 

The next board meeting will be held in Athens on Wednesday 29 May.

The next call for project is scheduled for June/July 2024.

The UEFA Foundation has selected 64 projects to support NGOs across 71 countries, all of them are aligned with our vision to empower children’s education, gender equality and inspire new generations through the power of football.”

- Andrea Radrizzani, UEFA Foundation for children board member

Board of Trustees starts a new four-year term.

Board of Trustees starts a new four-year term

Long-serving member Peter Gilliéron is succeeded by Dominique Blanc<

The UEFA Foundation for Children has officially confirmed its new Board of Trustees for the upcoming cycle, marking the institution's commitment to its mission, which grows in importance by the day. The new board was elected for a four-year term at today's assembly.

“In these challenging times, the need to support and uplift our children is more pressing than ever. And football is a great platform to do that. United around our beautiful game, we navigate these uncertainties, determined to craft a brighter, more hopeful future for every child in need,” said Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president and board chairman.

2023–27 Board of Trustees

Aleksander Čeferin – chairman

Andrea Radrizzani

Clarence Seedorf

Dominique Blanc

Fiona May

Kairat Boranbayev

Kevin Lamour

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus

Nathalie Iannetta

Norman Darmanin Demajo

Snežana Samardžić-Marković

Wladimir Klitschko

The board’s primary role is in shaping overarching strategies and endorsing projects worldwide that align with the foundation's objectives, with a commitment to prioritising the rights and well-being of children through the power of football.

The assembly also acknowledged the departure of Peter Gilliéron, one of the foundation's founding members. On behalf of the board, the chairman expressed his appreciation for Gilliéron's invaluable advice and enduring commitment to the foundation over the years.

Dominique Blanc, the president of the Swiss Football Association, emerged as the unanimous choice to fill the vacant seat. His extensive experience in football, spanning roles as a player, referee, and official in grassroots football, brings invaluable experience to the new position.

“I look forward with great pleasure and conviction to contributing to the foundation’s work and learning from your experience,” said Blanc after the election.

As the foundation continues its mission to uplift the lives of underprivileged children, its board members' collective expertise and passion promise a positive and impactful journey ahead.

In these challenging times, the need to support and uplift our children is more pressing than ever. And football is a great platform to do that. United around our beautiful game, we navigate these uncertainties, determined to craft a brighter, more hopeful future for every child in need."

- Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president and board chairman.

Diogo Costa’s UCL record converted into solidarity action

Diogo Costa’s UEFA Champions League record converted into solidarity action

The UEFA Foundation for Children supports goalkeeper's initiative by sending football kits and 120 balls to organisations close to the player’s heart.

Last season, Diogo Costa set the record for the highest number of penalties saved in a row in a single group phase of the UEFA Champions League. He pledged to convert the three consecutive saved penalties into three solidarity initiatives supported by FC Porto and the UEFA Foundation for Children.

The Dragons’ goalkeeper donated football kits to AMCH Ringe, the first club he played for, and FC Porto’s youth disabled football team. He is also supporting APORMast, the Portuguese Association of Patients with Mastocytosis and Mast Cell Diseases.

Children from Ringe and FC Porto were invited to the Estádio do Dragão for a dedicated workshop organised by Diogo, who taught them how to kick and how to stop penalties. It was a privileged and inspiring moment for the kids: for many of them meeting Diogo Costa was a dream come true and it will reinforce their motivation and commitment to progress in football.

“I have great memories of playing for Ringe,” Diogo Costa recalls. “It’s motivating for me to represent Ringe as a former graduate while doing my best for FC Porto. I hope my story will inspire them in some way.”

Diogo Costa’s third initiative is designed to draw attention to the Portuguese Association of Mastocytoses and Mastocytoses (APORTMast). He became aware of this non-profit association through his former physical education teacher, Sónia Carvalho, who was very dear to him. She was recently diagnosed with mast cell disease and discovered that it is a rare disease that is very difficult to identify. In addition, medicines that greatly improve the quality of life of sufferers are not reimbursed.

Link to UEFA TV Show, featuring the three solidarity actions.

FC Porto launched an auction on Friday to support this cause, and the items up for grabs are a jersey signed by Diogo, two tickets for the FC Porto–FC Shakhtar Donetsk Champions League match scheduled to take place at 20:00 on 13 December at the Estádio do Dragao, and a chance to meet Diogo Costa after the match.

The sale ends at noon on Thursday 7 December, and all profits will go to APORMast.

Link to the auction.

         

I have great memories of playing for Ringe. It’s motivating for me to represent Ringe as a former graduate while doing my best for FC Porto. I hope my story will inspire them in some way.

- Diogo Costa, FC Porto Goalkeeper

New sustainable Lay’s RePlay pitch opens in Italy.

New sustainable Lay's RePlay pitch opens in Italy.

In Naples, the UEFA Foundation, Common Goal, and Lay's unite to promote sport, inclusion and sustainability.

From Packs to Pitches: the UEFA Foundation for Children, Common Goal and Lay's proudly unveiled a new sustainable football pitch today in the heart of Naples, open to the local community and local sports associations.

The inauguration of the new sustainable pitch, made using recycled bags of crisp packets, was the perfect occasion to celebrate sport, inclusion and sustainability, and supports the recent development of the city's Scampia neighbourhood.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by a number of special guests to mark the occasion including Naples mayor Gaetano Manfredi and former Italian international and UEFA Champions League winner Ciro Ferrara, with a performance by singer-songwriter Dadà.

The Scampia district was chosen for this initiative to support its recent redevelopment launched as a series of initiatives promoted by Municipality 8 and local associations to address issues such as unemployment, poverty and inequalities.

Urs Kluser, General Secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children:

“The Lay's RePlay programme is not just about creating football facilities - it's about empowering communities, promoting inclusivity and championing environmental sustainability. This initiative represents a powerful example of how sport can be a catalyst for positive change on a global scale, and we're proud to be part of this journey."

 

The Lay's RePlay programme has successfully led to the creation of football facilities in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, the United States and Italy. In the latter, the first pitch was inaugurated in the Cecchi Point district of Turin in May 2022. Since its launch, the Turin pitch has been used over 20,000 times, provided 1,225 hours of sport activities and life skills training and 213 hours of events and special activities for the community.

Providing everyone with access to the joy of sport is a long-standing goal of Lay's RePlay - this project embodies the transformation, moving from reusing empty packs of chip packages to creating football fields donated to local communities. The goal is to combine the passion for sport, social inclusion and environmental protection to promote a positive impact on a global scale.

- Marcello Pincelli, PepsiCo Italia General Manager

Álex Remiro shares his experience on World Mental Health Day

Álex Remiro shares his experience on World Mental Health Day

The Real Sociedad goalkeeper celebrates the start of the new Champions League season by putting his football know-how and leadership to use for social change.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day, we met with Álex Remiro, a new Friend of the UEFA Foundation for Children, to talk about the importance of psychological well-being at a time when more and more people, particularly children, suffer from mental health problems.

How can sport, and football, help to overcome psychological or mental illness?

I think all sports can and it's even more true with football because it's followed by a lot of people. It helps you maintain good physical health of course, but it also provides much more.

Football allows you to get to know people, it allows you to solve problems together, it allows you to learn how to be a good person in the dressing room. When you wear your club jersey, you represent a city and its values. This gives you a responsibility but also a lot of pride.

How do you prepare mentally before a game?

I try to give my best every week, Monday to Friday. Be really motivated. If everything goes well, I know I will be ready for the match without any thoughts or problems on my mind.

After each match, I relax and prepare to face the next team, learning about their strengths, their way of playing, and the players who might or might not be there. It's about knowing and being realistic about the pressure of the match.

I've been working on my mental health for nine years with my sports psychologist.

In the beginning, I didn't feel confident, I didn't want to go to training, and I didn't feel good in my club. Then my psychologist told me: “Look at it differently: it's not about problems with the club, it's not about problems with the manager, it's not about problems with your family. You should focus on what you really want. If you want to train and play, just focus on training and then you'll play.”

Do you have any advice for young people who might be under pressure or harassed or who might feel like they are in a critical situation?

One piece of advice I always repeat is to be realistic and know your expectations. It's different if you play for fun than if you play professionally. Sometimes we put more pressure on ourselves than necessary. Football is a sport and sport is about having fun. Some children and families forget this.

So, the advice I would give would be to focus on training, be the best friend you can be and respect your club and your coaches. When matchday comes, the important thing is the team; the result of the match does not define your life.

 

Alex’s commitment to grassroots football

In March 2023, the Navarrese goalkeeper launched his own project in cooperation with the foundation’s partner Fútbol Más. It aims to give children who play football and their families the knowledge and tools needed to ensure their emotional well-being, resilience and mental health.

This project involves 50 out of the 96 football clubs in Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, reaching 2,500 boys and girls and 1,250 families. The objective is to bring the rest of the clubs on board in the coming year.

“This theme is particularly close to my heart because I was very affected by insults and people who lack respect for referees, managers or players. I felt like it was a real problem. Children are not equipped to face these situations. This is what made me commit to this programme. Through a team of sports psychologists, we provide tools to help them better manage these situations. It's about protecting our children and grassroots football.”

 

Football is about more than scoring goals

“I always liked helping children,” Remiro says. “Kids follow their idols; they listen to their words. I had the opportunity to meet big players when I was young, and that inspired me to follow my path. It’s very important for me to help kids have a better attitude on the pitch, at home or at school. Kids are like sponges: they take on everything, good and bad, so we must make sure we give them good things.”

“UEFA’s values are the same as those that I defend in my project. In sports as in life, you don't win at any cost. There are values and rules to follow, such as respect and fair play. In my project, all these values are part of the training that we offer.”

We welcome Alex's excellent initiative on mental health and look forward to collaborating on more projects in the future.

I always liked helping children. Kids follow their idols; they listen to their words. I had the opportunity to meet big players when I was young, and that inspired me to follow my path. It’s very important for me to help kids have a better attitude on the pitch, at home or at school. Kids are like sponges: they take on everything, good and bad, so we must make sure we give them good things.”

- Álex Remiro, Friend of UEFA Foundation for Children

“I love you, Haaland!” – UEFA Foundation brings joy to Super Cup

“I love you, Haaland!” – UEFA Foundation brings joy to Super Cup

In a heartwarming display of humanity, Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland, Ivan Rakitic and their team-mates met kids invited by the UEFA Foundation for children ahead of Wednesday’s Super Cup.

It was more than just football that took centre stage at the UEFA Super Cup in Piraeus, Greece this week. The UEFA Foundation welcomed local children from Greek associations A Ball for AllActionAid Hellas and Cosmos to the game, where they had the incredible experience of meeting Manchester City and Sevilla players the day before the match.

The three associations support children and refugees in need by providing them with opportunities to play football and to develop a strong community around the beautiful game. On Tuesday, the kids couldn’t contain their excitement as they had the chance to attend the training sessions and meet star players from the two teams.

“Why do you think people should play football?” posed a young voice. “Because I believe we can make a lot of people really happy with football” answered Sevilla star player Ivan Rakitic.

Loukia, ten years old, a visually impaired girl from Ball For All association, held the honour of chatting with Rakitic, ambassador of the UEFA Foundation, while others had the chance to have their shirt signed, exchange words with the players and even take pictures with their heroes.

The next day, beyond the confines of the stadium at the fan festival in Piraeus, generations intertwined as the kids had a lot of fun testing their football skills and playing with the Greek legends who won the UEFA EURO back in 2004 such as Angelos Charisteas , Giorgos Karagounis, Angelos Basinas, and Dimitrios Papadopoulos, founder of ActionAid Hellas

The whole group then headed to the stadium to attend the game, some of the older children acting as centre-circle flag carriers at the opening ceremony. At the end of the match, which saw Manchester City emerge triumphant following a penalty shootout, young Loukia stood alongside UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin to hand out the medals, where she shook players' hands and even got a hug from Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola.

The best moment ever was when I accompanied the president of UEFA to the award ceremony. Such an exceptional honour! I was full of joy and happiness!! Vision is not always necessary. I understood people cheering, players passing by, the touch of a hand, a kind voice bending towards me, a kiss on the cheek, a gold metal around my neck. Thank you, UEFA Foundation for Children, thank you A Ball for all. You made me feel an equal part of a big family and of a spectacular event.

Loukia, 10 years old, from A Ball for All

 

Football for cultural inclusion at UEFA Super Cup

Football for cultural inclusion at UEFA Super Cup

The UEFA Foundation for Children will emphasise integration through football to make our world a more tolerant and welcoming place.

The UEFA Foundation for Children will once again use this year’s UEFA Super Cup match to raise awareness of important social issues, prioritising in particular the right of the child. Since it was established in 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children has become a key presence at the UEFA Super Cup, demonstrating that football, and sport in general, has a positive impact on children and can change the outlook of even the most vulnerable.

While the UEFA Champions League title holder Manchester City FC and the UEFA Europa League winner Sevilla FC will fight for one more trophy at this year’s UEFA Super Cup in Piraeus, Greece, the UEFA Foundation will carry a message of cultural inclusion and social integration.

In close collaboration with partner organisations such as Action Aid Hellas, FC Cosmos and A Ball for All, children that have been affected by societal exclusion in one way or another - from victims of global conflict to those battling physical impairments - will take part in unforgettable experiences around this year’s match.

Activities around the UEFA Super Cup in Piraeus will include:

1.  On Tuesday 15 August, a selection of children will visit the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium to watch Sevilla and Manchester City’s official training sessions. They will have the opportunity to meet with players, participate in a kickabout session and take photographs with both teams.

2. At the fan festival on the Town Hall square in Piraeus, on Wednesday 16 August, children will play in a football match alongside legends from Greece’s historic 2004 EURO-winning team. They will also take part in challenges and will have the opportunity to have their photos taken with the former Greek football legends and the UEFA Super Cup trophy.

3. As part of the UEFA Super Cup’s opening ceremony, Mastercard will offer 16 player mascots positions to young children from Action Aid Hellas, FC Cosmos and A Ball for All who will proudly enter the pitch accompanied by the star player of the match. Older children will also play a key role in the opening ceremony, acting as central circle carriers.

These activities seek to act as a reminder of football's profound capacity to instil values such as commitment, discipline, mutual aid, respect, and tolerance. It serves as a powerful testament to the fact that football has the extraordinary ability to foster profound connections among individuals, transcending geographical and cultural barriers.

Sevilla FC midfielder Ivan Rakitić, who is playing in his third UEFA Super Cup final this year, serves as a proud ambassador for the Foundation and echoes this sentiment. Having played alongside teammates from every corner of the globe during his illustrious career, Rakitić offers a poignant reflection:

There’s no room for discrimination in football or any other sport. We’re all against it, players and clubs support each other, and we’re trying to move towards a safe environment for everyone.