The unifying power of football: breaking down barriers, building communities | UEFA EURO 2020

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Each year, UEFA uses the proceeds from the UEFA European Championship to allocate € 100,000 to each of its 55 member associations to invest in social responsibility programs. There is one condition: Programs must use football to address environmental or human rights issues.

In the 2019/20 season alone, 46 European football associations chose to invest the funds in projects creating equal opportunities for marginalized communities: refugees, people with disabilities or with mental health problems, drug addicts , ethnic, economic, religious and sexual minorities, prisoners, fans and orphans.

The breadth and depth of these initiatives are astounding. We asked six national associations to share how they are using the beautiful game to create a level playing field for everyone. Check out the first two of them, Sweden and Wales, below:

Sweden

What is the name of the project?

Alla är olika-Olika är bra

Translate please

Everyone is different; different is good

Creating a level playing field in Sweden

What are you doing to level the playing field across Sweden?

We believe that everyone should have an equal chance to enjoy the game. With the support of UEFA and other SvFF partners, our social responsibility program funds several initiatives that ensure that nothing stands in the way of the game. fulfillment of football dreams: not nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation or ability.

How does the project work?

Supported by a leading Swedish supermarket chain, Alla är olika – Olika är bra has enabled hundreds of football clubs to launch initiatives that break down barriers to playing football. This could be a project that trains girls to be referees or a project that creates a team made up entirely of refugees – they all support equal opportunities.

How did the Swedes react?

Since the launch of the project in 2016, we have invested € 1 million. There are now 300 clubs where everyone is welcome to play. We will continue to work for the right of everyone to participate in the football movement and to support football clubs working for the same cause.

Visit the Swedish Football Association (SvFF)

Emre Gürler, Head of Sustainability at Eskilstuna United DFF

“Thanks to Alla Är Olika-Olika Är Bra, our club was able to launch Hjärta United (United Heart). With the help of our players, we are tackling the most pressing social issues in Eskilstuna: long-term unemployment, loneliness for the elderly and equality for young girls. We are proud of what we have accomplished. “

Wales

Rob Franklin, Project Manager

What is the name of the project?

We wear the same shirt

How does the Football Association of Wales break down social barriers?

One in four people experience some symptom of poor mental health in their lifetime. Fifty percent of them will manifest before the age of 14. So it’s not really a condition that only affects a small group of people. It affects everyone.

In 2015, we started a project that uses football to help – both highlighting the prevalence of mental health issues among young people and providing them with the opportunity to exercise and socialize.

How does the project work?

The first step is to overcome the stigma of mental health. We do this by working with semi-professional and professional clubs to create a safe and welcoming place for anyone with mental health issues to play football.

Thanks to UEFA’s support, we were able to extend the project to ten Welsh clubs: Swansea City Community Trust, Newport County in the Community, Cardiff Metropolitan University FC, Cambrian & Clydach Village Trust, Wrexham Inclusion FC, Newtown AFC, Haverfordwest County AFC, Bangor 1876 FC, Penybont FC and Barry Town United AFC.

What’s the biggest sign of progress?

The stories of the participants. They are stunning. Some even say that the project saved their lives.

Some of the guys when they first came to see us were really shy and nervous. Now they are so tied together. It’s fantastic to see their characters come out.

“Three years ago I thought I was nobody. I thought nobody wanted to know me. Three years later it was amazing. I got my C license. It’s so good to be able to going out and giving back to those who have helped me. It has given me a positive outlook, not just about football but also about life. “
Luke Martin, who suffers from schizophrenia, County in the Community

Visit the Football Association of Wales (FAW)

Luke Martin, who suffers from schizophrenia, County in the Community

“Thanks to Alla Allr Olika-Olika Är Bra, our club was able to launch Hjärta United (United Heart). With the help of our players, we are tackling the most pressing social issues in Eskilstuna: long-term unemployment, loneliness for the elderly and equality for young girls. We are proud of what we have accomplished.

How EURO income supports the development of European football

UEFA will distribute 65% of UEFA EURO 2020 income to its member associations and clubs. Of that amount, nearly two-thirds is channeled through its HatTrick funding program for reinvestment in football development, from the grassroots to the top of football.

UEFA’s 55 member associations rely on HatTrick to support initiatives supporting the development of elite young female players, grassroots and women’s football, national coach education courses, referee education and, since 2016 , football and social responsibility initiatives.

In April 2020, following the postponement of EURO 2020, UEFA released 236.5 million euros in HatTrick funds to ensure that associations are financially equipped to deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic. Adapting to unprecedented circumstances, UEFA allowed the associations to determine for themselves how best to invest these payments to protect the long-term future of football.


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