Captains of Change opens opportunities in Ukraine

A Captains of Change project inspired the Football Federation of Ukraine to facilitate the employment of disabled persons who often face barriers when looking for work.

In European football, diversity is very visible on the pitch, but less so when looking at the management of football organisations. UEFA is committed to influencing the culture of football organisations and to progressively opening them up at all levels to a wider range of different backgrounds. Captains of Change is an innovative programme launched by UEFA to create a more inclusive environment and to further develop diversity within the management of football across Europe.

The programme made its first positive impact in Ukraine by enabling disabled persons to find work at the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), thereby improving the current situation and the chances of future employment. The project was carried out together with UEFA's corporate social responsibility partner expert in this field, the Centre for Access to European Football (CAFE).

Serhiy Moskaliuk, who has severe scoliosis, was taken on as an FFU intern as a result of the Captains of Change initiative. He has previously faced the barriers and stereotypes that often exist when disabled people look for employment, but the Captains of Change initiative and the FFU have together removed those barriers, making sure that he has the same opportunities and access to work as anyone else.

FFU president Andriy Pavelko advocates for a wide adoption of the Captains of Change project as seen in Ukraine. "These programmes are necessary in every country. They're probably more important than ever in Ukraine because in our society today it's important to show that one of our main priorities is to support disabled people and to understand their barriers. They'll be able to help development, not only in football, but in other spheres as well."