The UEFA Foundation for Children was established on the initiative of the UEFA President, Michel Platini, reflecting the desire of European football’s governing body to play a more active role in society. The UEFA Foundation for Children is governed by Swiss law and has been operational since March 2015.
For many years UEFA has supported initiatives and programmes that help disadvantaged children throughout Europe and beyond. Now, the UEFA Foundation for Children has taken over and is stepping up these activities to help promote children’s fundamental rights as expressed in international conventions, according to which a child is a person in their own right, has rights of their own and should be able to assert those rights. The foundation is active in various domains such as health, education, access to sport, law, personal development and the integration of minorities.
The board of trustees met for the first time on 23 March 2015 in Vienna. José Manuel Durão Barroso, former president of the European Commission, was elected for a four-year term as chairman of the board. The other trustees are (in alphabetical order): Sándor Csányi (president of the Hungarian Football Federation and founder of the Csányi Foundation for Children), Norman Darmanin Demajo (president of the Malta Football Association and founder of the Time2Think Organisation), Peter Gilliéron (president of the Swiss Football Association and chairman of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee), Margarita Louis-Dreyfus (chairperson of the supervisory board of Louis-Dreyfus Holding B.V. and president of the Louis-Dreyfus Foundation), Michel Platini (UEFA President) and Viviane Reding (member of the European Parliament).
At its inaugural meeting, the board of trustees approved a series of initial projects in favour of disadvantaged children:
- Football in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan: initiated by UEFA in 2013, the foundation has taken over this project, helping children displaced by the conflict in Syria by organising sports activities, training for football coaches and tournaments for girls and boys living in the refugee camp.
- Just Play: the foundation has also taken over this project in the Pacific, which was set up by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and UEFA and has received numerous awards already. The aim is to encourage physical activity among 6 to 12-year-olds and to promote healthy lifestyles to counter the problem of child obesity that affects much of the Pacific region.
- Three projects linked to UEFA EURO 2016 in France: the foundation will organise activities throughout the tournament next summer in support of a series of projects designed with the rights of the child in mind.
- Autism project: the foundation will work with the International Foundation of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH) to improve the lives of autistic children and their families.
José Manuel Durão Barroso said: “UEFA’s commitment in setting up this foundation embodies a desire that has always inspired me, to reach out to those most in need by turning the fundamental values of European civilisation – human dignity, solidarity and hope – into opportunities for our children to improve their lives. Together, we must act to guarantee them a future full of promise. Because by acting on behalf of children today we are shaping the society of tomorrow.”
The official UEFA Foundation for Children website: www.UEFAfoundation.org
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