Football makes me feel like everyone else

Jane’s condition might mean that he needs to use a wheelchair, but that won’t hold him back from his passion for football and friendship.

Football is love and passion

When she was small, many people told Zehra, a German girl of Turkish descent, that girls shouldn’t play football - but her love for the sport was too strong to be defeated by stereotypes. This is her fantastic story.

#EqualGame Ad ft. Hegerberg, Messi, Pogba and Ronaldo

The extended version of the new Equal Game Television advertisement featuring both global football stars and grassroots players sharing their love for football.

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

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.

Maxwell (assistant sporting director, Brazil): Football brings everybody together. There’s no difference between boys or girls, rich or poor, everybody has a ball, everybody can play on the streets. I come from a culture where everybody loves to play football and this is something that impressed me. The purity of the game and the passion of the game brings people together.

Vaclav Sindelar (massage therapist, Czech Republic): Football is accessible to everyone, all over the world, regardless of race, age… It’s accessible to children, the middle aged, adults, pensioners, all people around the world together. More than anything else, it gives me optimism and energy in my life. This is something we blind people need a lot.

Denis Glushakov (footballer, Russia): I think football is the most popular sport that can be played anywhere. On the streets, at home, everyone can play it. And it’s good for your health. It’s better to go outside to run and play rather than sit inside at the PC or play a console. Of course, everyone plays FIFA but it’s better to play for real.

Moussa Dembele (footballer, France): I learned almost everything I know through football. It taught me a lot of things in terms of acting as a man, as a human being and as a footballer too. It really means a lot to me.

Giorgio Chiellini (footballer, Italy): Football is about joy, passion and also relating to others because when you’re part of a squad, you have to know how to conduct yourself and show respect to coaches, referees and your opponents. Football has so many qualities that have to taught, particularly to young children.

Alberto Botia (footballer, Spain): All over the world, football sparks passion and gives off the message that, from the first minute to the last, anything is possible. You see the passion shown by children and parents, people from all walks of life, when they go to matches, and that shows that the love of football transcends racial and national boundaries. Passion for football is everywhere.

Panagiotis “Takis” Lemonis (coach, Greece): I think that what we love about football is the unpredictability. This may be the most democratic sport. Everybody has the right to win whether you’re an amateur or professional. For 90 minutes all social differences are levelled out. We see, for example, famous lawyers or politicians who are sitting in the stands and celebrate goals. This is the magic of football.

And many more…

Football stories

Step inside the world of Jane, a nine-year-old boy from FYR Macedonia, whose passion for football and friends is an inspiration.

View story

Everyone can play

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.

Refugee tournament at UEFA HQ

Over 140 players living in refugee centres in the Geneva-Lausanne region participated in a football tournament organised by Hospice Général and supported by UEFA. The aim of this project was to provide assistance to people who need it most and to use football to integrate refugees from the local area.

Grassroots awards winner film

Three very inspired coaches show how they help others with organizing football events, trainings and education. Based in Italy, Armenia and Northern Ireland, they show how important football is in people’s lives on a day to day basis.

Juan Mata learns sign language

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is interviewed by Ana using sign language. At the end of the interview he even learns to use some basic signs himself.

Football for Diversity

For the 2017 Super Cup opening ceremony in Skopje, the UEFA Foundation for Children invited 30 local hard-of-hearing young people to perform a sign language version of Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars”. These amazing young people even got to teach stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and David de Gea to do some basic sign language before the match.

Amputee football

Amputee football was showcased in Milan during the UEFA Champions Festival 2016. Talented footballers from the European Amputee Football Federation displayed their skills in front of an impressed crowd, with a view to raising awareness for their sport.

Colour blindness

The UEFA Europa League Festival 2017 showcased how colour blind people see football – from a player, fan or coach perspective – to raise awareness among the football family.

Stadium accessibility

Jean-Pierre Inacio is a football fan, and he happens to use a wheelchair, but nothing could stop him from attending a match. He shared his journey to UEFA EURO 2016 with us, as UEFA continues to work closely with its social responsibility partner CAFE, city and stadium authorities to improve access to live football.