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.
José Peseiro (manager, Portugal): Fortunately, football has given me the chance to be in several countries, in several continents and get to know other environments that are as important as ours and have as many good qualities as well as faults as ours. All societies and cultures have good things as well as bad things. I believe that all of us have the right and obligation to improve those things which aren’t as good in our societies.
Adi Hutter (manager, Austria): We all started as amateurs. We all played as kids in a small club, in youth teams. There are amateurs that become professionals and there is amateur football. And this is why professional sport and the popularity of sport is important. I like to talk to people who are active in our region and, at the end of the day, we do the same thing: we play football. We play the same sport and this is what connects us. The people that go to stadiums have different social backgrounds as well, but that’s football and football connects these people. Therefore, football truly connects people and society nowadays.
Andri Vilbergsson (occupational therapist, Iceland): On the pitch it doesn’t necessary show whether you are ill or not, or if you have any mental problems. What is so great about football is that it unites us in that way. When you are a spectator in the stands and watching a group play, you don’t know if there is anything the matter with the players, with any one of them. Unless they are limping, or injured or missing one hand, you can’t see if they have illnesses, and it is just so great that everyone should get the opportunity to play football.
David Ospina (goalkeeper, Colombia): There’s so much passion in football. It’s a sport that can bring the whole world together, it really is a beautiful game. This helps people to forget about all their problems, all the things that happen around the world and that affect a lot of people in their own countries. As a sport, football can contribute to spreading a positive message, helping us all to find the peace we want to see in the world.
Thomas Delaney (footballer, Denmark): The big question is, you don’t want to lose the joy that football brings you on the way [to becoming a professional]. I think that’s the most important thing for everybody; it’s about having fun. And it still is for us. Of course, as professional players it becomes more and more like a job, but if you don’t find that joy when going out and training with a ball, then maybe you should think about other stuff. And that is also true when you’re young, you don’t always have to be in the best team. You will develop more by having fun than being in the best team. That’s what’s counts at that point: having fun.
Antoine Tardy (photographer, Switzerland): As a photographer, I’ve witnessed many times how football can really tackle social issues in communities around the world. Just to give you one example, I went to Rio a few years ago and I visited a project in a favela called Guadalupe. The project is about keeping kids out of trouble and out of violence through football. They bring them to the pitch after school and that’s how they tackle the issues in the favela. So really football around the world is a great tool for integration and to address social issues.
Sébastien Haller (footballer, France): I believe that football has the ability to bring people together and cancel out differences. It allows people to come together in the name of something magnificent. In football, it doesn’t matter where you’re from and what you do in life, whenever you play football you’re able to enjoy yourself and it allows you to forget about everything around you. I think that football has a special power and it’s something that we have to promote so as to ensure that there’s no discrimination.
Parm Gill (safeguarding officer, England): In my opinion, football should be for everyone. You shouldn’t just look at it as it’s for girls. Girls should come. Everyone should have the opportunity. You don’t know what girls can do, we are equal today
Ole Jørgen Halvorsen (footballer, Norway): I love the game itself, I think it’s a fantastic sport. No matter if you’re small or tall, everyone can play football. You can be poor or rich, it doesn’t determine whether you can become a good footballer or not. I guess that’s what is the most fascinating thing about football. Football is for everyone no matter who you are, and the dressing-room culture is incredibly fun to be a part of, and something that is unique to football.
Elín Ebba Ásmundsdóttir (occupational therapist, Iceland): On the pitch, everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter where you come from and what kind of problems you are dealing with. It’s the ball that matters, and to get it into the goal, that’s what is important. It doesn’t matter if you are a part of the team that’s playing or a spectator. You forget yourself.
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