UEFA foundation and FedEx open community pitch in Madrid

Carlos Marchena inaugurates a new football pitch in Cañada Real district

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on FedEx, visit www.fedex.com

To find out more about the work of streetfootballworld, visit http://www.streetfootballworld.org/

UEFA Europa League dream for local children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s success belies its young age

The UEFA Foundation for Children has been up and running for a year now, so we decided it was time to catch up with its chairman, José Manuel Barroso, to ask how things are going.

A year after its launch, what is your initial assessment of the work the foundation has done? The foundation is already making a difference all over the world, for the time being with the one exception of South America. Today, thousands of children who are underprivileged or living in difficult circumstances are being supported in their daily lives by the foundation and its partners – through education and opportunities to play, among other things. That is simply priceless.

In concrete terms, what has the foundation done? First of all, we made sure to continue working on the projects that UEFA had been supporting itself. One such project is Just Play, a unique football programme in Oceania, for children aged 6 to 12, which aims to engage the community and promote healthy lifestyles. Another involves socio-educational football activities in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. At the same time, we are supporting projects as wide-ranging as a pan-European research project on autism and a partnership with the John Giles Foundation in the fields of health and social integration in the Republic of Ireland. I should also mention One Goal for Education, which is using football to promote social inclusion through big clubs in Belgium, England, Israel, the Netherlands and Scotland.

Are you planning any particular activities for UEFA EURO 2016? First, we’ve launched 20,000 Children’s Smiles, a project that will enable 20,000 disadvantaged children and accompanying adults to attend one of 43 EURO 2016 matches. Second, in cooperation with Sport dans la Ville (Sport in the City) and streetfootballworld – associations that use sport as a vehicle for social change – we are organising a solidarity tournament in Lyon, where 500 girls and boys from all over the world will come together. And finally, we will have a European schools tournament in Lens and Lille, which will bring together young people aged 18 and under, for the most part from the 30 UEFA member associations who did not qualify for EURO 2016.

Do you have any particular criteria for your partnerships? We define our action as ethical and responsible. We have chosen to be completely transparent, as the foundation’s website shows, and our partners know that everything is subject to the UN’s code of ethics, which sets out very strict rules on working with children and respecting the environment, for example.

How does UEFA support you? First of all, UEFA – which the foundation is independent from – has committed to giving us an annual grant until 2025. In addition to that, a large amount of work has been done by UEFA staff and through UEFA events and activities. This has involved the allocation of revenue to foundation projects and a desire to act responsibly by giving competition and event materials a second life. A number of projects and associations have benefited from material support in the form of bibs, balls and all sorts of other equipment. The Children’s Dreams programme, which aims to help make the football-related dreams of seriously ill children come true, would also not be possible without the direct support of UEFA.

What are the main things that the foundation will be doing in the near future? In order to develop our activities we will continue to look for new forms of financing that respect the code of ethics – and we will do this with complete transparency. And we will continue to mobilise the whole football family – clubs, associations, sponsors, etc. Because a simple ball can erase differences such as skin colour, background and religion, and because, at the end of the day, football is a fantastic tool to help people live together in harmony.

The Ideas Box comes to Senegal!

Designed by Philippe Starck, the Ideas Box is a portable toolkit that can be set up in under 20 minutes to create a 100m2 library. The Ideas Box provides an internet connection, touchpads and computers, thousands of books and educational activities, and even a cinema. In addition to its satellite internet connection, the Ideas Box provides access to a local server full of educational and interactive resources.

In May 2016, the first Ideas Box in Senegal, paid for by the UEFA Foundation for Children, will be set up by the Futur au Présent association for streetchildren in Ziguinchor. It will be used by Futur au Present as part of the work it has been doing since 2012 with streetchildren in Ziguinchor and will enable the association to multiply its impact by taking the kit to primary and secondary schools on the outskirts of the city. By organising income-generating activities, the Ideas Box can encourage local entreprise and thus ensure the sustainability of the project.

Before moving to Ziguinchor, the Ideas Box will be on display at the Maison de la Press in Dakar on 20 April, giving visitors the opportunity to discover this exciting new tool and share ideas about how it can be used to shape the library of the future in Senegal.

UEFA Foundation for Children supports Brussels Play 4 Peace initiative using sport as an instrument for peace

A UEFA Foundation for Children photo exhibition highlighting the lives of children at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan was staged in Brussels on Sunday 10 April to help mark the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

The exhibition, showing how football can play a key role in giving meaning to the refugee children’s everyday lives, was part of a sports event organised by the Brussels Play 4 Peace (BP4P) organisation and held at the Stade Roi Baudouin in the Belgian capital.

Almost 4,500 children and young adults – boys and girls aged between 8 and 20 – are involved in sport, and football in particular, at the Zaatari camp. The UEFA Foundation supplied cameras to enable the children to be creative and portray life at the camp through a lens, thereby contributing to the exhibition and promoting it beyond the borders of the camp.

Alongside the exhibition, more than 20 different sports activities were offered to visitors, and proceeds from the day are earmarked for the purchase of sports equipment for homes and hospitals for children and young people.

A minute’s silence was held in memory of the victims of the recent attacks in Brussels, and balloons in Belgium’s colours of black, yellow and red were released into the air.

BP4P promotes the playing of sport and adherence to sport’s values as an educational tool for young people, and nurtures the belief that sport is a crucial vehicle for social stability and dialogue between different political, cultural and religious communities.

The UEFA Foundation for Children reflects UEFA’s wish to play a more active role in society, and makes use of sport to support humanitarian projects linked to children’s rights in areas such as health, education and integration.

The foundation’s objective is also to help children and safeguard their rights, as well as to promote access to sporting activity, facilitating children’s personal development and fostering the integration of minorities.

UEFA Foundation for Children supports World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day takes place on Saturday 2 April, and the UEFA Foundation for Children is lending its support as part of a long-term project aimed at helping to improve the lives of autistic children and their families and giving them hope for the future.

As part of its activities on behalf of children across the world, the UEFA foundation allocated its annual support grant for 2015 to a project designed to improve communication and education for autistic children in Europe. The innovative project is being coordinated by the International Foundation of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH).

The slogan for the project comes from Mahatma Ghandi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” To this end, FIRAH has entered into partnerships with international and national associations for autistic children and their families, as well as educational, social and medical services. All of these partners have regular contact with autistic children to help bring happiness into their daily lives.

The FIRAH project is called Autism and New Technologies, and is being implemented for a four-year period in six European countries – Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Partners include around 30 institutions using new technologies for autistic children aged between 2 and 18, in addition to university partners and associations in the six countries.

Three pillars underpin the project:

  • Facilitating access to the latest educational material and equipment such as robots and tablets, adapted to the specific needs of autistic children and their families.
  • Training families and professionals working with autistic children so that they can help autistic children make use of new technology, with online guides and training available to families and professionals.
  • Developing applied research projects to assess the impact of new technology (robots, tablets, etc.) on the everyday lives of autistic children in order to improve the equipment and apps available. All such research projects will involve the children, their parents and professionals to deliver concrete results based on the needs and expectations of autistic children and their families.

The children, their parents and professionals will be involved in evaluating the results of the Autism and New Technologies project.

“The UEFA Foundation for Children is delighted to give its backing to this project of considerable importance,” said the chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, former European Commission president José Manuel Barroso. “Autism represents a great challenge for modern society, and I have no doubt that the deployment of new technologies in this area will bring significant results not only for FIRAH and its partners in their pioneering work, but also for autistic children and their families.

“The Autism and New Technologies project promises to be a resounding success, and the UEFA foundation is happy that football, as a powerful social force, can support these activities in accordance with its key mission to help improve children’s lives.”

UEFA EURO Trophy on tour in France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draw for EURO FOOT Jeunes takes place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The results of the draw were as follows:

Boys’ competition

Group A

Turkey (seeded)
French Overseas Team

Group B

France (seeded)

 Group C

Croatia (seeded)
Belgium Wallonia

Group D

Hungary (seeded)
Northern Ireland

Girls’ competition

Group A

Switzerland (seeded)
Turkey (seeded)
Northern Ireland

Group B

France (seeded)
Germany (seeded)
French Overseas Team

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

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

20,000 children’s smiles

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

European schools tournament: EURO FOOT JEUNES 2016

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

International solidarity tournament

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

UEFA Foundation for Children supports Spirit of Soccer in Iraq

Football programme launched to educate children about the danger of landmines

The UEFA Foundation for Children is supporting the Spirit of Soccer project in Iraq, using a programme that emphasises the power of football to educate children about the dangers of landmines and explosive remnants of war. The project includes mine risk education, raising awareness of the danger and promoting behavioural changes.

The humanitarian consequences of violence in Iraq and Syria have been catastrophic. More than 2.2 million Iraqis – half of whom are children under the age of 18 – have been displaced, and are forced to live in camps without any formal education or social structures. One day, they will return home to regions polluted by the legacy of conflict, where landmines, unexploded weapons and ammunition, and improvised explosive devices will be a constant and deadly threat.

The funding provided by the UEFA Foundation for Children will support the training of 150 new football coaches, who will be taught how to deliver mine risk education to over 25,000 Iraqi, Kurdish and Syrian children in 2016.

“Some of these children have experienced violence and trauma, often on a daily basis,” said Spirit of Soccer founder and CEO Scott Lee. “Football can do so much; whether it is giving them skills that could help them survive the war, or just giving them a reason to smile. When you play football, you live in the moment. If we can provide these children with a moment of peace, this will truly be a precious gift.”

José Manuel Durão Barroso, chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children’s board of trustees, said: “The UEFA Foundation for Children places the well-being of children at the heart of its activities, especially vulnerable children who are suffering as a result of conflict. Given the dangers posed by landmines and other legacies of such conflict, it is absolutely crucial that young people are made fully aware. We applaud and fully support the Spirit of Soccer project on this vital education initiative, and we are very happy that football is once again being deployed as a source of happiness and hope.”

Note to editors:

Spirit of Soccer is an international non-profit organisation that uses the world’s most popular sport to empower and educate young people about the dangers of landmines and unexploded weapons in areas of past or ongoing conflict: http://spiritofsoccer.org/

Tonga’s Just Play programme reaps rewards

Tevita Telini was not born with a disability, but in primary school he had an operation on his head that went wrong. Consequently, he lost all his strength and struggled to walk or stand without assistance.

Some 90% of disabled children in the Pacific Islands do not attend school. Negative perceptions surround people with disabilities, who are not given the respect or equality they deserve and are often excluded from physical activity, which increases their risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Luckily, Tevita attended the Ofa Tui Amanake (OTA) disability centre in Tonga, where the Just Play programme is run once a week.

Tevita took part in Just Play every week and attended weekly workouts with the Tonga Football Association to build up his strength. When he began, a 2kg weight was too much for him to lift while standing up, and he could only do one sit-up before he was exhausted. Tevita’s lack of fitness and inactive lifestyle put him at a higher risk of developing NCDs. However, he is very determined and worked hard to build up his strength at the OTA centre and through Just Play.

His hard work paid off when, at the age of 31, he was selected to represent Tonga in the 2015 Special Olympic Games in Los Angeles. After two years of training, Tevita was capable of lifting 20kg, and could complete three sets of 20 sit-ups. His tenacity has also earned him a place at the 2017 Special Olympic Games, where he will compete in the javelin, shot-put and discus.

Not only has Tevita improved his lifestyle, built up his strength and lowered his risk of developing NCDs, he has also become a role model to aspiring disabled and non-disabled athletes around Tonga. He has proved that with hard work and determination, you can overcome obstacles and achieve something great. Tevita and many others who have participated in Just Play have changed perceptions surrounding disabled people in the Pacific Islands, proving that they deserve respect just like everybody else.

While Just Play is a sport for development programme that targets children aged 6 to 12, the programme has no age limit for participants with intellectual disabilities. Just Play is managed by the Oceania Football Confederation, with support from the UEFA Foundation for Children, the Australian Government, the Australian Football Federation, the New Zealand government and UNICEF.

To find out more about Just Play programme

Record crowds see exhibition at Futsal EURO

An exhibition set up by the UEFA Foundation was on view to the record crowds who have turned out to watch matches at the UEFA Futsal EURO final tournament in Serbia.

The host nation’s games have been attracting sell-out attendances and huge numbers of the visitors to the Belgrade Arena have been pausing to look at a collection of photographs that reflect conditions at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, where the UEFA Foundation has embarked on a football-inspired project to make life more bearable for the children living in a ‘camp’ which has evolved into a township of almost 80,000 inhabitants.

The thousands of visitors who have seen the exhibition have included organised visits by groups of schoolchildren who have been involved in the legacy and sustainability projects that UEFA has pegged to Europe’s premier futsal event. Among them was a group of 40 young pupils from the Dositej Obradovic school – one of the eight institutions from the Novi Sad area who participated in the UEFA project. There was a good deal of discussion and banter about which of the photographs made the most impact. Goran, one of the youngsters who had travelled in with the group, spoke for many when he commented “there is a photograph with a bicycle that I liked very much. I would love to meet those children and to play football with them. Maybe their team against ours. And then we could make all different kinds of teams together. That would be really nice.”

The visit was one of a number organised by Igor Janković, director of grassroots football at the football association of Serbia. He told the children the stories behind the photographs – the realities of a harsh life in the desert under precarious living conditions. “One thing that can make them happy,” he told them, “is the opportunity to enjoy some football”. However, the key factor for the children who visited the exhibition was the take-home message behind the photographs. “Sport helps people to face and overcome various difficulties in life,” Janković told the pupils from Novi Sad. “It can also give you confidence and friends. Those children at the refugee camp show you that football can be very useful and helpful in life.”

Another important part of the project linked to UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 was a grassroots futsal competition in which the ‘winning’ boys and girls were selected according to fair play principles rather than results. The climax was a final tournament involving some 700 children, played on the day before the semi-finals at the Belgrade Arena where, of course, they had the chance to see the striking UEFA Foundation exhibition of photographs from the Za’atari refugee camp which they had been told about at their schools.

UEFA Foundation for Children provides funds to Play for Change programme in Nepal

Programme designed to bring positive changes in children’s lives

At its last board meeting in November, the UEFA Foundation for Children decided to provide funds to Play for Change, to help the organisation in its delivery of a sport and education programme in Besisahar – a municipality in Nepal that was affected by two earthquakes in April and May 2015. The programme, known as Khelaun Khelaun (‘let’s play’ in Nepali), is designed to use sport as a vehicle to improve children’s health and well-being, increase girls’ participation in sport and create local employment, thereby developing long-term opportunities and access to sport.

The programme will be based in and around Besisahar, which is located in the Lamjung district of Nepal. Current access to sport is poor, especially as Lamjung and its sports facilities were were damaged by the two earthquakes last year. The participation of women and girls in sport presents another testing challenge.

Play for Change is working hand-in-hand with Global Action Nepal to ensure that all children have the chance to play sport in their schools and communities.

The main aims of the Khelaun Khelaun sports programme are to:

  • increase participation in sport among disadvantaged children, especially girls;
  • establish sports activities and local leagues in 40 schools in and around Besisahar;
  • improve sports infrastructure and facilities;
  • train coaches and teachers in local communities;
  • promote health and well-being;
  • create brighter perspectives for children in and around Besisahar, by enabling them to acquire new skills;
  • empower and develop skills within the community.

José Manuel Durão Barroso, chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children’s board of trustees, said: “Sport has a vital role to play in bringing meaning and fun to children’s lives, and the UEFA Foundation for Children is determined to be at the vanguard of promoting health and well-being through sporting activity. The establishment of a sport and education project in this area of Nepal will not only give joy to children, but also help create and foster a positive future for the community. We fully support Play for Change in its admirable work, and wish everyone the very best in this exciting venture.”

Marie Le Page, Director of Play for Change, said: “We are really excited to be working with UEFA Foundation for Children where we share a passion for sport. We believe that this project will offer a great platform and opportunity to the devastated communities of Nepal.”


Play for Change (PFC) is dedicated to the provision of life-changing opportunities for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Read more about Play for Change and its work on www.playforchange.org

Global Action Nepal (GAN) has been improving access to and the quality of education in Nepal for 20 years, working primarily with remote and marginalised communities. Read more about Global Action Nepal and its work on www.nepalaction.global/

Za’atari camp photo exhibition at Futsal EURO in Belgrade

UEFA foundation contributes to the tournament legacy

The UEFA Foundation for Children is contributing to the UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 tournament legacy programme through a photo exhibition focussing on children’s lives at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. The exhibition is being hosted by the Arena of Belgrade from 28 January to 15 February. Thanks to the involvement of Serbia’s Ministry of Education, classes from underprivileged neighbourhoods in Belgrade will be provided with free tickets to attend a Futsal EURO match, and to visit the exhibition, which will serve as an educational tool. Documentation will be made available to teachers, to enable them to explain to the students about the lives of refugee children in the camp, and to show the importance of football in the children’s existence.

This photo exhibition gives an opportunity for the UEFA Foundation for Children to show its presence and activities at the refugee camp. Access to and participation in sports activities is very important for the youngsters living at the camp. It is more than just an opportunity to play and have a nice time. Sport is used with an educational approach, addressing social issues and focussing, in particular, on conflict resolution and raising awareness of early marriages and birth control, as well as the importance of school, health, hygiene and well-being. Sport is also used to reinforce social values such as tolerance, inclusion and fair play.

The on-site activities of the foundation serve the following objectives:

  • Providing equipment and infrastructure
  • Training of local coaches – men and women
  • Organising regular training sessions and tournaments
  • Integration of young children through sport
  • Reinforcing children’s rights

More information

Brochure: Introduction of the Za’atari Refugee Camp


A beating heart for children

The UEFA Foundation for Children has hit the ground running since its launch last April – and with UEFA EURO 2016 looming, this year promises to bring more joy for youngsters in Europe and beyond.


The joy shining in young eyes thanks to football has been a recurring feature in a memorable first year for the UEFA Foundation for Children, launched last spring with the key aim of using the game’s social force to help children and safeguard their rights.

The foundation, which embodies UEFA’s wish to play a more active role in society – using football as a vehicle – has hit the ground running in the initial eight months of its existence, already winning widespread plaudits for the quality of its work. A wealth of activities in 2016 are destined to provide further happiness and positive experiences for youngsters in Europe and beyond.

Launched on 24 April 2015, the foundation made its objectives immediately clear, and began forging a positive reputation with its opening projects. At the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, in particular, and in conjunction with the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the foundation consolidated help to children displaced by the conflict in Syria by organising sports activities, training for football coaches and tournaments for girls and boys living in the camp.

In the Pacific region, the foundation took up responsibility for the Just Play project set up by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and UEFA, which seeks to encourage physical activity among 6 to 12-year-olds and promote healthy lifestyles to confront the local problem of child obesity. Work is also under way with the International Foundation of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH) to improve the lives of autistic children and their families.

An exciting year beckons for football fans, with UEFA EURO 2016 in France certain to dominate the summer. Appropriately, the foundation has launched three projects linked to the event, and will arrange and support activities that bring children to the fore.

July’s international streetfootballworld Festival 16 in Lyon will bring together 500 children and young people in celebration of UEFA EURO 2016, with the highlight being an international solidarity tournament backed by the foundation. In addition, just before the finals, Euro Foot Jeunes will see the cities of Lens and Lille stage boys’ and girls’ European schools’ football tournaments. The goal is to gather all 54 UEFA nations together in France so that they can be part of this fiesta of football – and Euro Foot Jeunes will feature nearly 1,000 players from the 30 European countries that have not qualified for the final round.

Deprived children will also have the chance to savour the unique UEFA EURO 2016 experience, with the foundation inviting 20,000 youngsters to attend a finals match. The children will be selected and looked after by the host cities and associations that play a recognised role at national or local level.

Other major UEFA occasions enabled the foundation to give children unforgettable memories in 2015. Eight children and four accompanying adults from the Air pur & soleil (Fresh Air & Sun) organisation in France attended the UEFA Champions League final in Berlin. In Poland, 143 vulnerable children were thrilled to be present at the UEFA Europa League final in Warsaw. Another 100 young people in precarious situations in the Prague region attended the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final in the Czech capital.

Perhaps the most eye-catching moments happened at the UEFA Super Cup match in Tbilisi, Georgia, last August. Through a shared initiative between the Georgian Football Federation (GFF) and the UEFA foundation, 1,000 disadvantaged children and accompanying adults from Georgia and eight neighbouring countries joined the star players of Barcelona and Sevilla as well as the match officials in forming a human chain, and four young Georgians sang John Lennon’s song Imagine to promote a powerful and moving message of peace through unity.

All of this impressive activity was guaranteed to meet with recognition, which duly came in November when the foundation won its first honour, the Foundation of the Year prize at the 2015 Peace and Sport Awards in Monte Carlo, for its impact in improving the living conditions of disadvantaged children.

Reaction to the migration crisis in Europe was also immediate – the UEFA Executive Committee giving its approval in September to a donation of €2m to the foundation for a series of initiatives to help child migrants in Europe and beyond.

By the end of the year, eight new projects had been added to the foundation’s portfolio for the forthcoming period. These include a health and social integration scheme in the Republic of Ireland; a programme tackling social exclusion in Burkina Faso; a campaign raising awareness of the dangers of mines, and awareness of football, in Iraq; and a project in Nepal aiming to ensure access to sport for vulnerable children, in particular young girls.

This year promises to be even more fulfilling than the first. “We are very proud of the work we do around the world and look forward to embracing new projects which can improve the lives of children around the world,” says the UEFA foundation’s chairman José Manuel Durão Barroso. “We are going to work to defend the rights of the poorest children and support them – through education, health initiatives, social inclusion and access to sport – to enable them to envisage a better future.” Football’s heart for children has never beaten more soundly …

UEFA Foundation helps children to live their dreams!

With the help of associations that fulfil the dreams of seriously ill children, as well as the goodwill of football clubs and their players, and thanks to UEFA and all its volunteers, the UEFA Foundation for Children has made some children’s dreams come true.

As a result, these children and their families have been able to share some memorable happy moments together, brightening the children’s lives and helping to build their confidence.

 Marc’s dream:

To go to the UEFA Champions League final in Berlin.

Read more (in French)


Yusuf’s dream:

To go to a match of his favourite team, Galatasaray, in Turkey and meet the players.

Read more (in French)


Danilo’s dream:

To meet the Juventus team and go to one of their matches.

Read more (in German)


Sebastien’s dream:

To meet his idol Fernando Torres and to go to a match in which he was playing.

Read more (in French)