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.