“I lost my arm and I'm still part of football”

Ljubomir was a promising goalkeeper with Slovenian side NK Maribor until he lost his arm in a tragic car accident. Now, with the support of his club, he's on the path to recovery and pursuing a career as a referee.

“Football helps me to forget about my sad journey”

Abubacarr risked his life when he left The Gambia for Italy. Now, it’s football helping him to integrate and settle in his new home country.

"Play Unified" with the Belgian national team

Belgium set out to create greater opportunities for athletes with learning disabilities to join sports clubs, federations and leagues.

What is Equal Game?

  • European football is more diverse and multi-cultural than ever.
  • Our competitions and grassroots projects feature players and fans from all backgrounds.
  • And for UEFA it is important to communicate that football is for all.
  • Respect is a social responsibility initiative launched in 2008.
  • For the last 4 years, this initiative has featured the message of No To Racism.
  • UEFA is now evolving this message to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility across not only ethnicity but also gender, age, sexual orientation, all abilities, and social backgrounds.
  • The new campaign gives all football lovers in Europe a voice to share what football means to them.
  • The new respect campaign is called #EqualGame
  • Because everyone is entitled to enjoy football. No matter who you are, where you’re from or how you play.
  • On the pitch we’re all the same.

My Game

Brockenhurst Football Club (under 14 team, England): Player 1: Football is about having fun, enjoying yourself and working as a team. Player 2: I reckon It’s for anyone, anyone can play it. You don’t need to be skilled, you can just learn. Player 3: When I play it, I get this excitement in me, like I can change the game or something like that. Player 2: It’s good because you can play it anytime, anywhere with anyone you want and it’s really fun. Player 3: No matter what you look like, what disabilities you may have, whether you are a boy or a girl, or who you are. No matter who you are, you can still play it. Player 1: It’s a community, football, it’s all around the world. And that’s the joy in it because it never gets old, it carries on.

Pierluigi Collina (UEFA, Italy): Football is unique in that it can be played in a huge stadium in front of a massive attendance, with television cameras in place, such as for a final, or it can be played in the park by children, as I used to do so often as a youngster, with books for goalposts, without nets or a goal frame, generating arguments about whether the ball went in or not, while being able to enjoy yourself through this magnificent game.

Luis Figo (football adviser, UEFA, Portugal): Football brings about a feeling of passion and love. Football is universal. It does not matter what part of the world you are in or which race you are, it does not matter which friends you may or may not have. I think it's a sport that integrates and one in which you have passion for what you do. It is a unique sport and one that can change the world. That's why it's a sport that I learned to love and that I still do.

Vincent Aboubakar (footballer, Cameroon): I've been passionate about football since back when I was in Garoua, in Cameroon. It's what I did for fun with my friends, but my family wanted me to focus on studying instead, as that was the education my older brothers received from my parents and wanted to pass on to me too. But I kept playing for Coton [Sport] and when the time to make a choice came, I decided to keep playing football. I had started playing football for pleasure, to have fun, but then it became like an occupation to me.

Ederson (footballer, Brazil): As a kid I would play in the streets with my friends and cousins. We played barefoot and our toes got hurt many times from playing barefoot on cement. I think it was a very happy childhood, in which I played a lot of football. I guess that was when I fell in love with football. I've always had a taste for it and I've always kept that with me.

Mircea Lucescu (manager, Romania): Football helps these social relationships very much. Kids find it very easy to become friends when they play football. If some kids have a conflict, they become friends if you give them a ball, because they are forced to collaborate, they are forced to be friends, to hug each other after the game and to feel these extremely powerful emotions.

Timur Zhamaletdinov (footballer, Russia): Football is played all around the world. It doesn't matter what nation the guys in your team are from or where they come from, we are all equal.

Joël Matip (footballer, Cameroon): Football is played all around the world and it doesn't matter where players come from. All you need is a football, the goals themselves aren't so important, you can improvise them. It doesn't matter what languages your teammates speak, you can play with them regardless. That's what makes it so special.

Abubacarr Konta (migrant, The Gambia): Football unites people, that’s what I like in football. I have friends. We go out together thanks to football. When I had just arrived and did not have a team, I was not going out but once I joined a team, we became one. I’m grateful to the RETE! project because they help with lots of things. When I joined the project they took us to many places. We go for training three times every week and they provide us with a coach.

Ani Grigoryan (student, Armenia): Football plays a big role for girls, especially in Gyumri, Armenia because we are able to find ourselves, challenge the idea that football is only for men and we prove a lot through football.

And many more…

Football stories

Follow Ljubomir's path to recovery through football after a life-changing accident.

View story

Everyone can play

#EqualGame in Russia

The Russian national team welcomed ten children to their training session as part of a therapeutic sport programme.

FIGC assists migrants to integrate in Italy

United by football

Swiss International Xherdan Shaqiri recounts his remarkable journey from Kosovo to football’s elite.

Colourful LGBT support in Norway

Norwegian football unites alongside the LGBT community with a clear message - football is for everyone.

Special Olympics Young Athletes Programme

Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) and FK Žalgiris worked side-by-side under the Special Olympics Young Athletes programme and shared the joy of sports with children between 2 and 7 years old, who live with mental disabilities.

2017 European Amputee Football Championship

The first ever European Amputee Football Championship took place in Istanbul, Turkey in September. Organised by the European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF), the tournament was a huge success, with 12 teams taking part and tens of thousands of fans showing up to support these incredible athletes.

And many more…