Razvan Lucescu: “Any experience in another country makes you stronger”

I think this is one of the keys to success: being able to manage a group of players, where each player is different, they each have their own personality.
Secondly, my first experience abroad was very useful as it forced me to communicate in a language other than my own and to quickly adapt to different cultures, different mentalities. I think these are the most important aspects.
Then of course there’s the relationships that you build, you meet various coaches, different mentalities, other ways to organise the play. You need to adapt and be able to react in all kinds of situations. Any experience you go through in another country makes you stronger, better, it makes you grow.

Autism & Down Syndrome no barrier to football

This is the story of Andreas Jakobsen (17) and Oliver Svangren (16), who live with autism and Down Syndrome respectively and work at the Danish club Randers FC. As participants of the club’s ‘Mini Trainee’ programme – they are part of a project which offers young people with learning disabilities an internship within the club’s facilities, working in various roles and mixing with the club’s players.

Meet Spain’s only deaf female pro footballer

Diagnosed with a hearing impairment at just two years old, Eunate had to work harder than most to fulfil her dream of becoming. Now she is Spain’s only female professional deaf player and dreams of playing at next year’s FIFA World Cup in France. This is her inspiring story

Eunate Arraiza: Never stop fighting!

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

Igor Akinfeev (goalkeeper , Russian Federation): In terms of the other lads that we’ve had in the team, then each one of them tells us about their experiences, their outlook on life and their homeland. I, personally, really enjoy that side of things and these little chats give you a real insight into them as people. I think we’re all people and we’re all equal. We all have the right to lead our lives the way we see fit.

Eniola Aluko (footballer, England): For me, football is a gift. I grew up playing football not really knowing how I was good or why I was good at football. In my local area, there were a lot of boys, so for me, football was my quickest way of being accepted. Playing the game was to be accepted amongst boys, and then I quickly became the girl that was better than the boys. So, it became an identity for me, playing football, being cool because I could play, and the boys thought I was cool because I could play. So, from a young age, even though I’m different from the boys, or different in terms of my background, it’s something that actually became acceptance.

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.

Gianluigi Buffon (goalkeeper, Italy): It has been a beautiful journey, full of emotion, and I have overcome many challenges and difficulties. Obviously, Mother Nature helped a lot at the beginning, because I think I was very fortunate in terms of the physique and talent that I was born with. But I think I have also contributed a lot, my character, my desire to improve and my pride in writing a small bit of footballing history.

Andriy Shevchenko (coach, Ukraine): Football is an international game; it’s accessible to all. It has nothing to do with politics or religion. It’s a game that’s accessible to all and it should be pure, not only in the top competitions but also among children. It’s competitive to a certain extent, but it’s a game. It should be accessible to all. Everyone should try to get pleasure from it, because that’s the reason we play this sport.

Luka Modrić (footballer, Croatia): I remember that, after school, the first thing I did was to go outside to play football with my friends, with my father. Being happy with the ball around, with trying to go every day and learn something new, and just being happy and enjoying playing football every day.

Jürgen Klopp (coach, Germany): You don’t even have to be smart to understand that we are all the same, the game shows you that immediately. You sit in the same dressing room, you go out on the pitch, you play together and if you don’t pass to your mate from the same city, it makes no sense. If you don’t pass to your mate from another country, it makes no sense. The game doesn’t work like that; it only works if you really play together, and that’s how football should be and how the world should be as well, but sometimes, the world especially, can still improve.

Paul Pogba (footballer, France): We try to be a role model for everyone. We also have to convey the message that everyone can do a sport like football. It makes people happy. When we became world champions, we were all together. Every race came together, we hugged and kissed each other. It was wonderful and that’s what football can give to people all around the world. Sport can bring people together and that’s the purpose of this campaign, to make people aware that football is for everyone. It’s not for a single person, it’s not for a single skin colour. It’s for everyone.

Ada Hegerberg (footballer, Norway): I think what I love the most about football is that it’s for everyone. It’s as simple as that. It’s so simple to have a ball and go out and play with your friends, whether you’re a boy or a girl, young or old. It’s so global and it’s easily accessible for everyone. Everyone can dream and have big dreams of becoming a football player, so that’s the beautiful part of it and that’s what I try to keep in mind as well: That I’m really privileged to be in the position that I am, I’ve worked hard for it, of course, but try to enjoy it as much as possible as well. There are hundreds of thousands of others that wish they were in our position.

Dimitri Payet (footballer, France): I was with my parents when I saw on the television that I’d been picked for France for the first time, and my parents were nearly in tears. These are moments that happen very rarely in your life, but football creates these sorts of moments, you can forget everything else. For me, footballers aren’t the stereotypes that we have, they’re human beings and they share these special moments with the people closest to them.

And many more…

Everyone can play

Lewandowski And Co support Amputee Football

The Polish FA and stars of the national team gave a huge boost to amputee football in their country by taking part in a special penalty shootout challenge.

Special training for special kids with Lithuanian champions FK Suduva

Discover the world on a football pitch

#EqualGame in Russia

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

Blind children take centre stage in Tallinn

At the 2018 Super Cup in Tallinn, The UEFA Foundation for Children invited local blind children to sing as part of the opening ceremony, and invited them to meet players from Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid.

The world on the pitch

Nearly 300 orphans participated in an event organised by Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF). The aim of this event was to use football as a tool and to learn to solve social problems, and proved to be the perfect method to involve the orphans into an active lifestyle.

And many more…