Winners of 2018 UEFA Foundation for Children Awards announced

Awards go to 20 European organisations supporting disadvantaged children

On 16 May, the Board of Trustees of the UEFA Foundation for Children met in Lyon at the offices of Sport dans la Ville – an organisation that uses sport to help young people to integrate into society – under the stewardship of its chairman, Aleksander Čeferin.

The agenda for that meeting included a number of important items of business, such as the 2018 UEFA Foundation for Children Awards and the approval of the projects to be supported using the proceeds from the recent Match for Solidarity, which took place in Geneva on 21 April and was jointly organised by UEFA and the United Nations.

As regards administrative business, the chairman of The Football Association, Greg Clarke, was voted onto the Board of Trustees, bringing the total number of members to 11. The Board of Trustees also took note of the impending departure of the foundation’s secretary general, Pascal Torres, who will be replaced by Urs Kluser.

2018 UEFA Foundation for Children Awards
In January, UEFA’s 55 member associations were again asked to nominate a charity partner that was involved in activities benefiting children – a repeat of last year’s initiative aimed at placing Europe’s national associations at the heart of the decision-making process as regards these awards. The eligibility criteria for this year’s awards were as follows:

  • Nominees had to be based in one of UEFA’s member countries.
  • They had to comply with the Ethics Code of the UEFA Foundation for Children.
  • They had to be registered with the relevant national authorities and comply with all legal and financial obligations.
  • Their activities had to be aimed at helping disadvantaged children.
  • Priority would be given to national associations whose charity partners had not received an award in 2017.

Each award-winner would receive a grant of at least €50,000.

A total of 22 national associations submitted nominations, ten of which had not nominated anyone last year. Only two nominees were rejected on account of a failure to satisfy the above criteria. The Board of Trustees decided to divide the total amount of funding available – €1m – equally between the remaining nominees, with the 20 organisations below each receiving a €50,000 grant:

National association Recipient organisation
Football Federation of Armenia Grant Life
Austrian Football Association Helga Keil-Bastendorff Stiftung
Royal Belgian Football Association BX Brussels
Croatian Football Federation Pogled Autism Association
Cyprus Football Association Goal in Life
Football Association of the Czech Republic Special Olympics Czech Republic
Estonian Football Association SPIN
French Football Federation Fondaction du Football
German Football Association AMPU KIDS – a project by Ampu Vita e.V.
Israel Football Association The Israel Sport and Education Initiative
Football Federation of Kosovo Kosovar Youth Council
Liechtenstein Football Association Football is More
Lithuanian Football Federation Vilnius Social Club
Football Federation of FYR Macedonia SOS Children’s Village Macedonia
Polish Football Association Amp Futbol Polska
Football Association of Ireland Irish Society for Autism
Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation Škola fudbala Respekt
Football Association of Slovenia Debeli Rtič Youth Health and Summer Resort
Swedish Football Association Lennart Johansson Foundation
Swiss Football Association Verein Raumfang

2018 call for projects
This year, applicants should submit details of their projects between mid-August and mid September. The selection criteria will be set out in the application form.
The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is set to take place on end of 2018 to announce the selected of the new projects.

For high-resolution images relating to this media release, please visit the foundation’s newsroom.

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Stars in their eyes

Local children will escort the players out onto the pitch thanks to a partnership between the UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx

The UEFA Europa League final is a source of great excitement to its host city, and not least to the young fans who dream of seeing their heroes in the flesh.
The UEFA Foundation for Children and the competition’s main sponsor, FedEx, have worked together to make the dreams of 22 local children a reality. Those youngsters, aged between seven and nine, will walk onto the pitch hand in hand with the players from Olympique de Marseille and Club Atlético de Madrid prior to kick-off. They having been chosen by French non-profit organisation Sport dans la Ville. They learned of their role from none other than FedEx ambassador and Netherlands legend Ruud Gullit during a special trip to the Stade de Lyon.

“The news that the children would escort the football stars they admire most onto the field at the UEFA Europa League final was completely unexpected – a possibility that many would not even have dreamed of,” said Hélène Blondel-Ehni, director of partnerships at Sport dans la Ville.

FedEx donated its full player-escort line-up to local charities at previous UEFA Europa League finals in Basel and Stockholm, prior to the 2018 showpiece in Lyon. The sponsor works together with the UEFA Foundation for Children and global charity streetfootballworld on a collaborative social responsibility programme that uses football as a platform to connect people and possibilities around the world.

“To step out onto the field at the UEFA Europa League final is something completely out of the ordinary, and you can see a sense of pride in their faces on the night,” said Jérôme Ovion, vice-president of hub operations at FedEx Express France.

In addition to this player escort initiative, the UEFA Foundation for Children is also giving away 100 match tickets to other partner organisations, allowing even more children to attend the final and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

Dreams made possible for Lyon children at UEFA Europa League final

FedEx Express donates its player escort allocation to French charity Sport dans la Ville

The UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx Express – a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation and the world’s largest express transportation company – are offering local children a dream opportunity at the UEFA Europa League final in Lyon on 16 May 2018.

Children chosen by Sport dans la Ville, a local non-profit organisation, will lead the two teams – Olympique de Marseille and Club Atlético de Madrid – out onto the pitch at the Stade de Lyon, where, for a brief moment, they themselves will be the stars of the UEFA Europa League final. FedEx Express’s UEFA Europa League ambassador, Ruud Gullit, delivered the exciting news to those 22 children during a recent behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium.

As the main sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, FedEx Express works closely with the UEFA Foundation for Children on initiatives that use football as a platform to connect people to new possibilities. This will be the third time that a charity based in the city hosting the UEFA Europa League final has been asked to nominate children to be player escorts at this prestigious match. This initiative complements the FedEx Cares programme, which embodies the company’s broader commitment to investing in communities where its team members live and work around the world.

“Many children in the care of charities face very challenging life circumstances. For them, to step out onto the field at the UEFA Europa League final is an once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you can see the joy on their faces,” said Jérôme Ovion, vice-president operations, hubs and transport at FedEx Express in France.

“The news that the children would be escorting their footballing heroes out onto the pitch at the UEFA Europa League final was completely unexpected – something that many will not even have dreamt of,” said Hélène Blondel-Ehni, director of partnerships at Sport dans la Ville.

“For the third year in a row, FedEx Express and the UEFA Foundation for Children are giving children in the city hosting the UEFA Europa League final an opportunity to shine,” said Pascal Torres, secretary general of the UEFA Foundation for Children.

In addition to this player escort initiative, the UEFA Foundation for Children is also giving away 100 match tickets to other partner organisations, allowing even more children to attend the final and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.


For more information about the FedEx Cares programme, click here.

To see a video about this year’s player escort programme, click here.

For high-resolution videos and images relating to this media release, visit the newsroom.

You can also follow the UEFA Foundation for Children on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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Field in a Box opens up new possibilities for young people in Philippi, Cape Town

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), and the UEFA Foundation for Children celebrated the opening of the latest Field in a Box in the Philippi township of Cape Town on Saturday 14 April 2018.

As the main sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, FedEx delivers its Field in a Box programme in collaboration with the UEFA Foundation for Children and global non-profit organisation streetfootballworld. The programme delivers easy-to-install, artificial-turf sports fields, each aiming to use football as a platform to empower children and young adults.

“Our intention by building these fields is to provide an environment that is inclusive and accessible to everyone in the community. We hope that they will provide a foundation for personal and sometimes longer-term socio-economic development,” says Mike Higley, FedEx Express vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa.

“Living and playing together is a commitment to the future and sustainable development of South Africa. We are pleased to join forces with FedEx Express and streetfootballworld to allow the boys and girls of this community to become the responsible citizens of tomorrow,” says Pascal Torres, general secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children.

“By introducing the ‘football for good’ movement to Philippi, we’re offering young people an opportunity to learn the benefits of teamwork and respect in an environment where positive dialogue is really encouraged,” says Vladimir Borkovic, director of streetfootballworld.

Oasis, a non-profit organisation founded in Cape Town in 2000, will oversee the programme of activities at the field and ensure its sustainable use in the community. “The Field in a Box will be a great support for the youth of Philippi. We hope this initiative will uplift the community and be enjoyed by all,” says Clifford Martinus, founder of Oasis.

Together with FedEx Express, Oasis hosted a formal inauguration of the field attended by, among others, Albert Fritz, Western Cape provincial minister for social development, and Anroux Marais, provincial minister for cultural affairs and sport. Former South Africa captain, Lucas Radebe joined in the celebrations, to the delight of local children.

This is the third Field in a Box to be built by FedEx in collaboration with the UEFA Foundation for Children and the first of three fields that FedEx has committed to build outside Europe under its community investment platform FedEx Cares.

Read more about the project here.

Logo street football world

UEFA Foundation for Children and Swiss Football Association pledge support for PluSport

The UEFA Foundation for Children will be supporting the Goal Plus – Play Football project run by PluSport, the Swiss disability sport association, for another year, while the Swiss Football Association has signed an agreement with PluSport to form a partnership in the area of disability football.

Football is the world’s most popular sport and, thanks to these two partnerships, access to sport, and to football in particular, will be made easier for everyone, regardless of any disability. Play Football promotes the integration of disabled children and teenagers into society and sport by creating football groups that train together regularly and organising tournaments at which teams can compete against each other.

“The fact that the foundation is supporting our project for another year is great news for us and shows the increasing value attached to our tournaments,” explains René Will, PluSport director.

By supporting the project, the UEFA Foundation for Children wants to enable children and teenagers to play football, improve their heath, receive coaching and enjoy sport. Pascal Torres, the foundation’s general secretary, agrees: “We are proud to support disability football. This sport gives people pleasure, enables them to meet others and facilitates their social integration.”

The Swiss FA and PluSport are aiming to establish a long-term partnership. Disability football needs to become a fully established part of the Swiss sports landscape. Both organisations are keen to make use of synergies, promote football for all and share their experiences.

Read the project file.

For high-resolution videos and images relating to this press release, please visit the newsroom.

Eleven Campaign to raise the curtain on the Match for Solidarity

On Saturday 21 April, prior to the UEFA-United Nations Match for Solidarity, 11 children who have been followed by the Eleven Campaign will take to the pitch at the Stade de Genève to play in a football match designed to symbolise unity.

Can football unite the world? That is the question posed by the Eleven Campaign, the non-profit organisation behind the Eleven film project. Supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children, the Eleven documentary aims to demonstrate the power of football to unite the world by following 11 children as they come together to play the football match of their lives.

The Eleven Rise As One game will take place ahead of the Match for Solidarity, a charity event being organised by UEFA and the United Nations on Saturday 21 April. It will bring together 11 children from 11 different countries, who will meet for the first time when they arrive in Switzerland to form a football team and play a 30-minute match at the Stade de Genève. Their opponents will be a team of 10- to 15-year olds with no fewer than 11 different origins.

As the world’s most popular sport, football is more than just a sport, more than just a game. It has the power to overcome prejudice, promote peace and bring people from different backgrounds together.

Come and share in this great adventure and see how football has the power to unite the world!

The first to arrive at the stadium will take part in a draw to win jerseys signed by football legends such as Figo, Ronaldinho, Pirlo, as well as a Real Madrid jersey signed by Ronaldo.

Tickets available from:
Learn more about Eleven Campaign:

TIPS – a tool for the uses of the new technologies with children with ASD

TIPS – feedback from the use of the new technologies with children with autism spectrum disorder symptoms (ASD)

On the occasion of the world autism awareness day, FIRAH and its universities and stakeholders European partners publish TIPS.

This booklet in done in a question and answer format. It gathers answers of children and adolescents with ASD, to their parents, and to professionals working with these children on the use of new technologies. The questionnaires included questions on the digital tools and method of use, the different areas (educational, communication, logic…) in which they were used, appropriation, and specific questions on verbal communication and social interactions. The questionnaires were filled in by 111 professionals, 137 parents, and 90 children or adolescents with ASD, from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Tips was created through the autism and new technologies program led by FIRAH and the UEFA Foundation for children.

Read about Tips


Match for Solidarity – Reducing inequalities through football

On this World Autism Awareness Day, 2 April, the UEFA Foundation for Children is reaffirming its desire to ensure that no child is left behind. On the same occasion, we would like to invite you to support the Match for Solidarity being held at the Stade de Genève on 21 April. The proceeds from this match, which is being organised jointly by UEFA and the United Nations, will go towards projects for children with disabilities

Differences are opportunities, and being different should never stand in the way of any child. In order to reinforce this message, UEFA and the Office of the United Nations in Geneva are teaming up to organise the Match for Solidarity to promote peace and human rights, and to reduce inequalities (in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 10). Legends of the game will be turning out to play in the match at the Stade de Genève on Saturday 21 April.

All the proceeds from the event, including from ticket sales and an online auction, will go to the UEFA Foundation for Children to finance projects benefitting children with disabilities.

In Geneva, the proceeds will be used to support the awareness campaign being run by the Autisme Genève association to promote understanding of people with autism, acceptance of differences and appreciation of diversity in society.

People don’t suffer from autism, they suffer from a lack of support and from the way people view those who are different. Just like us, people with autism can be amazing, sensitive, puzzling, intelligent, fascinating, funny, touching, and so on. Blue is the colour of autism and it colours the lives of the families of people with autism: intense, rich, exciting and sometimes exhausting lives,” says Elvira David Coppex, Autisme Genève committee member.

On a global level, projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America will also benefit from the event.

Humanity is enriched by its differences and each of us must endeavour to ensure that all children enjoy the same opportunities. We each have a responsibility to respect them, to help them develop and to protect them from all forms of exclusion.

Come along, bring your friends and, together, let’s support the children of today and tomorrow.


Tickets available from:

#Morethanfootball Action Weeks 2018

This year again, the UEFA Foundation for Children is supporting the #Morethanfootball action weeks run by the European Football for Development Network (EFDN).

The action weeks give participating football clubs and leagues the opportunity to demonstrate the social impact of their community projects and raise awareness of the transformative role that European club football can play in changing peoples’ lives for the better.

This year’s action weeks take place from 21 March to 8 April.

To highlight the foundation’s support for the campaign, it will share LED boards with #Morethanfootball at the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on 3 and 4 April and the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals on 5 April and broadcast the campaign’s official video on the giant screens.

A new feature for the 2018 action weeks, intended to increase its impact, is the Around the world #Morethanfootball Challenge, which encourages football fans, players and coaches to actively share why they believe that football is more than a game and record their own video.

The UEFA Foundation for Children will be sharing some of its projects with the #Morethanfootball hashtag as well, thereby helping to take the message of the action weeks to a wider audience.

Schedule and topics
21.03.2018 Launch Video #Morethanfootball Around the World
22.03.2018 #Morethanfootball Workshop Paris
27.03.2018 Education CSR programmes
28.03.2018 Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination CSR programmes
29.03.2018 Environmental / Sustainability CSR programmes
30.03.2018 Disability CSR Programmes
02.04.2018 Mental Health CSR Programmes (linked to World Autism Awareness Day)
03.04.2018 Supporting Refugees CSR Programmes
04.04.2018 Employability CSR Programmes
05.04.2018 Social Cohesion CSR Programmes
06.04.2018 International Community CSR Programmes (linked to International Day of Sport Development and Peace)
07.04.2018 Health CSR Programmes (linked to World Heath Day)

Journalists and bloggers can access and download UEFA Foundation for Children and #Morethanfootball content for editorial purposes by visiting : Newsroom

Please read the Impact report 2018

Nissan partner to tackle youth employability challenges in France and the UK

PARIS, France & LONDON, England (15th February 2018) – Today Nissan is joining UEFA Foundation for Children and streetfootballworld to support grassroots organisations Sport dans la Ville in France and Street League in the United Kingdom.

Part of its mission to create a “cleaner, safer, fairer” world, Nissan is addressing the issue of the roughly 7 million young people (15-24) in Europe that are Not in Education, Employment and Training (NEETs).

In the beginning of February 2018, the two-year partnerships in France and the UK are aligned with activities run by the Nissan Skills Foundation in the UK, which seek to encourage the next generation of talent in design, engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Stuart Jackson, VP Brand & Communications for Nissan Europe said: “At Nissan we believe in creating a cleaner, safer, fairer society through the power of our people and our products. As an official UEFA Champions League partner, we are now looking to harness the power of football to create a fairer society and brighten the futures of young people across Europe.”

Chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children and UEFA president, Aleksander Čeferin, said: “Improving the employment prospects of underprivileged young people in Europe is a huge challenge for us as a society. We welcome this new partnership with official UEFA Champions League sponsor Nissan Europe, who recognises its responsibility in society and lives up to this by investing in the communities they operate in to increase youth employability.”

“Football has a proven ability to bring people together and change lives,” commented streetfootballworld Partnership Director, Johannes Axster. “We’re grateful that Nissan recognises the potential for football-based social development programmes to empower young people in disadvantaged communities, while also providing Nissan employees with the opportunity to get engaged in meaningful activities in France and the UK.”

UK organisation Street League’s vision is to see an end to youth unemployment. Nissan will support “Academy” programmes in the London and Tees Valley areas, which work with 20 young people at any one time over a 10-week period. In 2017 alone, Street League lifted 1,731 young people into employment, education or training. “Street League are delighted to be working in partnership with Nissan to help even more young people find a positive future using the power of sport,” said Matt Stevenson-Dodd, Chief Executive Street League. “Our Academies do this by offering a mixture of employability sessions, sporting activities and life skills development.”

Sport dans la Ville is France’s leading non-profit association, serving disadvantaged boys and girls aged 6-25 by offering sports and job-readiness training. Through its “Job dans la Ville” programme, the organisation provides individual careers support, mentoring, work experience, and skill-building workshops. In 2017, a total of 1054 youths participated in the Job dans la Ville programme across France, with 73% of participants subsequently attaining a job or position on an education programme. “Thanks to our partnership with Nissan and the UEFA Foundation for Children, we will be able to amplify our actions in the Paris area to help even more youth in their social and professional integration,” said Elise Curioni, Directrice Partenariats Ile-de-France, Sport dans la Ville



The UEFA Champions League partnership is another example of Nissan’s dedication and growth in global sports, which includes: major international cricket events, such as the ICC Men’s and Women’s World Cups, the Canadian Football League, the Heisman Trust and Heisman Trophy, and the City Football Group, which includes the Manchester City, Melbourne City and New York City clubs. Nissan’s NCAA partnership in the US also marks the widest-reaching sponsorship in the history of collegiate sports – backing 100 colleges and universities, as well as select NCAA Championships – covering 22 sports. In addition, Nissan has a number of sporting ambassadors, including footballers Gareth Bale and Sergio Agüero.



streetfootballworld is the world’s leading non-profit in the field of football for good. Football has a unique power to change the world for good. streetfootballworld´s goal is to unleash this power.

The organisation bridges the gap between community organisations that use football to change lives, with supporters and donors from the world of football, business, politics and philanthropy, who believe in their potential to change the world. streetfootballworld´s global network unites 126 community organisations in 81 countries empowering 2,5 million disadvantaged young people every year. Its impact has been recognised with a variety of awards from the likes of Laureus, UEFA and the World Economic Forum.


Sport dans la Ville is France’s leading non-profit association serving disadvantaged boys and girls, ages 6-25, through sports and job-readiness training. Founded in 1998, it operates in the most deprived urban neighbourhoods and has touched the lives of countless underprivileged youth across France. Through free football programmes they impart the values of teamwork, self-confidence and determination, leading young people toward brighter futures. The professional skills training and job placement programme is moving youth from unemployment to opportunity.


Street League’s vision is to see an end to youth unemployment in the UK. The organisation does this using the power of sport to transform the lives of young unemployed people. Street League works with those aged 16-24 who are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET) and have been out of work for 3 months or more. Through their award-winning Academies and the power of sport, young unemployed people gain the skills, experience and confidence to secure sustained employment. Street League operates in 14 cities and 38 local communities across England and Scotland. Since the programme began six years ago, Street League has helped lift 5,526 young people into employment, education or training.

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Match For Solidarity tickets go on sale

Legendary players signing up for joint UEFA-UN charity football match in Geneva

UEFA and the United Nations Office in Geneva have announced that tickets for the Match For Solidarity went on sale today, as football legends continued to sign up to play in the joint UEFA-United Nations charity game.

The match takes place on Saturday 21 April 2018 at 16.00CET at the Stade de Genève, with pre-match activities involving local and international children starting around an hour before kick-off. Tickets are priced at CHF 10, CHF 17 and CHF 22, and can be purchased at

The two teams will be captained by Luís Figo and Ronaldinho, and will have Carlo Ancelotti and Didier Deschamps as the coaches. The match will be refereed by Pierluigi Collina.

Other players who have signed up to play include: Éric Abidal, Cafu, Youri Djorkaeff, Alex Frei, Luis García, Nuno Gomes, Christian Karembeu, Fernando Hierro, Jari Litmanen, Gaizka Mendieta, Robert Pirès, Célia Šašić and David Trezeguet – with more to follow. Further information on the line-ups of the two teams will be announced in the coming weeks.

Speaking at a media conference which took place today at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to launch the ticket sales, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “Football can have a big impact in improving people’s lives, therefore it is great to see so many football stars unite around such a great cause. I strongly believe that our sport can play a key role in social change and this charity match is a great example of football being a force for good. I send my wholehearted support to all those involved in this special event in Geneva, including all the players and fans, and I am looking forward to attending this match.”

Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, added: “This initiative once again highlights the unique synergies we have in Geneva to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals the world needs to reach by 2030. I hope this first Match will become a yearly happening, as a reminder of the work we must continue to do, all together, so no child – no person – is left behind.”

Legendary football star and current UEFA football advisor, Luís Figo, said: “I am very honoured to be part of this very important event, from a local and global point of view. With the ticket sales officially starting today, I invite everyone from the city of Geneva and beyond to come and watch this match and play their part in contributing to such an important cause. It’s great to see so many legends from the world of football joining forces to raise money for the benefit of children in need.”

The match is being organised to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set out by the United Nations, with a specific focus on reducing inequalities, Goal number 10.

The proceeds from this match, as well as from the charity dinner and a unique digital football auction, will go to the UEFA Foundation for Children. The funds will be used to finance humanitarian and development projects to help children with disabilities both at a local and global level. These projects will be selected by a committee of representatives from UEFA, the United Nations Office in Geneva and the Fondation du Stade de Genève.


Queen’s Baton debuts in Vanuatu on island of fire

Over 600 children celebrate arrival of the Queen’s Baton to Ambae at Just Play Emergency Programme festivals

Port Vila, 9 December 2017: On 9 December the Queen’s Baton arrived on the island of fire, Ambae, Vanuatu.  Awaiting its arrival were more than 600 children from the Just Play Emergency Programme, at the base of the Manaro volcano.

Through its partnership with the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a sports-based emergency response on 20 November, which supported more than 2000 children forced to evacuate their homes after volcanic action threatened their homes.  In coordination with the Just Play programme, this emergency response programme supported children through Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres, primary schools and communities.

“Ensuring children and families are given the right kind of support and messages to support psychosocial recovery after a major event in their lives is important,” said UNICEF Representative, Sheldon Yett. “Parents can start focussing on rebuilding their lives once they can see their children happy and playing – and we can do this through sports,” he added.

Recognizing the important role sport can play in supporting the psychosocial recovery of children after an emergency, the Just Play Emergency programme supported the dissemination of critical messages through play-based sessions and festivals.

“Football has an important role to play both on and off the field. We view the Just Play Emergency Programme as a key component in making positive contributions to the lives of children across the Pacific,” OFC President David Chung said.  “We know that in times of disaster, children and families rely on routine, which sport can provide to help them recover and regain the confidence to move forward.”

Kicking off celebrations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Cost, the Queen’s Baton is making its Commonwealth tour.  On its epic journey to the Gold Cost, the baton will cover over 200,000 km in less than 400 days – making its debut in Vanuatu on the East and West of Ambae at the Just Play Emergency Programme festivals.  The baton leverages the power of sport, bringing people together as it is passed hand, to hand, reinforcing inspiring messages of hope, recovery and perseverance for the children of Ambae.

The Just Play Emergency Programme was delivered in partnership with the Vanuatu Football Federation, the Fiji Football Association, the Union of European Football Association (UEFA), UEFA Foundation for Children, Vanuatu Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) and the Government of Vanuatu.

Related news to the programme: here

UEFA Foundation for Children – Activity Report 2016/17

Since it was established in 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children has made a considerable difference to the lives of thousands of children in Europe and beyond, bringing smiles to their faces, creating opportunities for them to realise their dreams and giving them hope for the future.

The foundation’s most recent efforts to improve children’s well-being and protect their rights, primarily through football and other sports, are reviewed in detail in the organisation’s activity report for 2016/17.

The report uses facts, figures, photos and graphics to show how more than 700,000 children benefitted from activities supported by the foundation in the period under review – through 82 projects in 66 countries. It also reveals how support for refugee children in Europe and the Middle East was increased, with a particular emphasis on using football as a source of fun and motivation.

A total of 12 new projects have been launched to support disadvantaged children, reinforcing the foundation’s work in Europe and around the world.

Ties with UEFA’s 55 member associations were also strengthened, with the foundation inviting them to select the nominees for the 2017 UEFA Foundation for Children Award, as a result of which 20 charitable bodies working together with national football associations received dedicated funding.

“We owe our success to the unwavering support of our partners,” said José Manuel Barroso, who recently retired as chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees. “First and foremost UEFA, but also our private partners.

“I would like to thank all of our volunteers, partners and everyone else who has helped us to further develop our activities,” he added.

“The UEFA Foundation for Children is fully committed to improving the lives of children living in difficult circumstances and will continue to pursue and promote even greater solidarity, and endeavour to support even more projects in 2018.”

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s activity report for 2016/17 is available via the following link: interactive activity report 2016/17

New projects funded by the UEFA Foundation for Children

Additional funds allocated to 28 projects in support of vulnerable children around the world.

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s board of trustees, led by its new chairman, Aleksander Čeferin, met at the House of European Football in Nyon on 22 November, when they were invited to approve a host of new projects shortlisted following the 2017 call for projects held in August and September this year.

A great many project applications were received. In order to narrow down the selection, a working group of trustees was established to draw up a shortlist that took into account budgetary forecasts and the foundation’s ethics code. On the basis of this shortlist, the board has approved 28 projects, half of which are in Europe.

The new European programmes supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children use sport, and football in particular, to give the most vulnerable a chance to participate in physical activity, which is vital for their healthy physical and psychological development. They convey a wide range of societal values in a way that is relevant to children. Topics such as well-being, self-esteem, tolerance, inclusion of minorities, conflict resolution, learning to live together, education and employability are addressed alongside active training sessions. Four of the new European projects relate to the social integration of child refugees in host communities.

The 14 projects outside Europe give the UEFA Foundation for Children a presence on all continents. These programmes aim to protect children and young adults who are victims of social, economic, political or armed conflicts. In crisis-hit countries, the principles enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child often fall by the wayside. Through sport and games, a fun, educational approach can be adopted to address social issues such as early marriage, birth control, the importance of school, health, hygiene and well-being.

Nathalie Iannetta, one of the trustees who was part of the working group that shortlisted the projects, said: “All we ever hear about football concerns the big competitions, the transfers and the scandals. At the UEFA Foundation for Children, however, we can see on a daily basis how our sport is a powerful driver of social change. The projects that were sent to us from all over the world are proof that, thanks to football, it is possible to support the social integration of refugees, the empowerment of girls, the faster, more sustainable inclusion of disabled people, and so on. The wide variety of projects that we received is a hallmark of the extraordinary richness and generosity inherent in each of us.”

List of new partners and their projects:

Action for Development, Afghanistan School for Street Children
Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan, Karabakh Brave Hearts
Baan Dek Foundation, Thailand Football4Good
Football United, Myanmar Football United Myanmar
Fotbal Pro Rozvoj, Czech Republic Football for development in Czech Republic
Foundation of Polish Soccer, Poland Football Film Festival
Fundación Red Deporte y Cooperacíon, Spain Football With No Limits
Game International, Kosovo Game Kosova
Johan Cruyff Foundation, Aruba, Caribbean Cruyff Courts in the Dutch Caribbean
Kick It Out, United Kingdom Diversity in Football Leadership Pathway
Light For The World International, Bolivia Inclusion of children & Youth with disabilities
National Children’s Football Alliance, Belgium Global Peace Game
Oceania Football Confederation, Oceania Just Play
Oltalom Sport Association, Hungary Football for Respect!
Orama Neon Youthorama, Thessaloniki, Greece A ball for all children, a goal for inclusion
Paris Saint-Germain Foundation, France Allez les Filles!
PluSport, Switzerland Goal Plus
Royal Europa 90 Kraainem Football Club, Belgium We welcome young refugees
Ruud Van Nistelrooy Foundation, Netherlands Talent group
SALT Academy, Cambodia Football For Development after-school programme
Soccer in the Streets, Atlanta, United States Refugee Life Skills and Employment Training Soccer Program Atlanta
Sport dans la Ville, France Job dans la Ville
Streetfootballworld, Jordan and Lebanon Empowering refugee and marginalised children
Terre des Hommes, Egypt Protection and social inclusion
Tiempo de Juego Foundation, Columbia Creciendo con el Balón/ Fútbol for Growth
Triangle Génération Humanitaire (TGH), Central African Republic and Republic of the Congo Improving the protection, education and reintegration of street children in Bangui and Brazzaville
UEFA Foundation for Children, Jordane Football at the Zaatari refugee camp
UNIS VERS le SPORT, Senegal UVS – Interational Education Centre



Aleksander Čeferin becomes chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children

Today, the UEFA president, Aleksander Čeferin, was elected as the new chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children at the board of trustees’ meeting held at the UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work even closer with our foundation, which plays an instrumental role in aiding children living in challenging and difficult conditions around the world,” the UEFA president said.

Aleksander Čeferin takes over from former European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, who chaired the foundation since its creation in 2015.

“I was honoured to be invited by UEFA to be the first chairman of the foundation,” Mr Barroso said. “My wish is for the UEFA Foundation for Children to continue and, if possible, increase the support that is so important for so many underprivileged children around the world.”

Aleksander Čeferin was one of three new members to join the board of trustees, the other two being Kairat Boranbayev, president of the Kazakhstan Premier League and of the National Paralympic Committee of Kazakhstan, and Kevin Lamour, director of UEFA’s president’s and executive office.

“It is a great honour for me, but also a big responsibility,” Kairat Boranbayev said. “Children are the most important thing we have in life. I am very pleased that the main objectives of the foundation are integration and aiding the younger generation in different areas. And they are fulfilled using the most understandable language in the world – the language of football.”

The meeting took the opportunity to thank José Manuel Barroso for all his great work during the past two and a half years as well as Sándor Csányi, president of the Hungarian Football Federation and a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, who was stepping down as a member of the foundation’s board of trustees.


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Just Play emergency programme set up in Vanuatu

On 28 September 2017, the Vanuatu Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency and ordered the mandatory evacuation of all 11,600 residents of Ambae Island amid the continuous eruption of the Monaro Volcano. The evacuees were relocated across the neighbouring islands of Espiritu Santo, Maewo and Pentecost.  Repatriations started on 21 October, and today around 71% of the Ambae residents are back on home soil. Following the Ambae evacuation and repatriation, concerns relating to the education, health and nutrition, protection and psychosocial support of children remain at the forefront of the emergency response efforts.

Supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children, the latest Just Play emergency programme – developed by the Oceania Football Confederation in partnership with UNICEF – was launched on 17 November on Ambae Island, after having been given the go-ahead by the Vanuatu government-led emergency committee, for a period of five weeks.

The Just Play programme uses football to support the psychosocial recovery of children after natural disasters. Just Play sessions are used to encourage children to draw pictures and to share their experiences and the effects on them and their families, which helps them to start their recovery process. The programme also includes key messages from the government of Vanuatu that are relevant to the context of repatriation. The direct beneficiaries of the programme are children and adolescents aged between 6 and 16.

The objectives of the Just Play emergency programme are to teach children how to keep themselves and their families safe during an emergency and to support their recovery after a natural disaster. The curriculum incorporates key recovery and response messages, which include:

  • coping with an emergency;
  • hand-washing and water safety;
  • food security;
  • general safety and security.

Expected results

  • Over 2,000 children will participate in Just Play emergency programme activities and receive psychosocial support.
  • Children will achieve greater understanding and awareness of how to prepare for and cope with future emergencies.
  • Two large-scale festivals will be organised, engaging a minimum of 300 children.

The Just Play programme has already demonstrated the positive impact it can have. After Cyclone Pam, a category-five tropical storm, devastated Vanuatu in 2015, the Oceania Football Confederation worked with UNICEF to use the Just Play programme platform to provide vital information and support in the aftermath of what turned out to be one of the worst natural disasters in Pacific history, affecting more than 166,000 people, including 82,000 children, across 22 islands. Lessons learned from those emergency response activities were used to develop the Just Play emergency programme into what it is today.

Just Play programme in the Pacific Islands.