Seedorf urges diversity and inclusion

UEFA global ambassador for diversity and change Clarence Seedorf has spoken of football's important role in fighting discrimination at a conference organised by UEFA's partners FARE.

Clarence Seedorf (right) and FARE executive director Piara Powar on stage in Barcelona
Clarence Seedorf (right) and FARE executive director Piara Powar on stage in Barcelona ©Getty Images

UEFA's global ambassador for diversity and change, Clarence Seedorf, has told a keynote conference in Barcelona that football can make a crucial impact in the fight against exclusion and discrimination in football.

The former Dutch international, a four-times UEFA Champions League winner, joined representatives from 38 countries for the conference, organised by UEFA's partner FARE and staged at the Camp Nou, the home of this year's European champions FC Barcelona.

Seedorf, who was interviewed on-stage by FARE executive director Piara Powar, spoke of his wish to explore the ways in which football, a great game with massive popularity and the power to serve as a vital social force, could be put to invaluable use to help create a more inclusive and diverse society.

"My wish to make football better is to make the world better," Seedorf said, expressing the view that racism and other forms of discrimination in football could not be addressed separately from what is happening across the world. He stressed the importance of a common and united front on the part of everyone involved in the fight against discrimination.

Seedorf, who was accompanied at the conference by other UEFA representatives, explained his challenging ambassadorial role, which not only involves campaigning against discrimination, but also helping to promote education, diversity and integration within the European body's various social responsibility activities.

The vastly respected former AC Milan and Real Madrid CF player, who was appointed UEFA ambassador for diversity and change last December, is serving as a role model with his experience and expert knowledge, and has become an important voice in promoting UEFA's commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination from football once and for all.

"I am in direct discussions with [UEFA] President Michel Platini and others at UEFA on the diversity strategy going forward," said Seedorf. "I believe the interventions we make will be significant in all of the areas that we are discussing [today]. You can be sure that we will consult with all stakeholders."

"We were delighted that Clarence Seedorf was able to join us in his role as UEFA global ambassador for diversity and change," said Piara Powar. "As always he was both thoughtful and thought-provoking in his interactions with us."

UEFA and FARE are long-term partners within the overall campaign against discrimination, intolerance and related negative phenomena. The discussions in Barcelona, involving stakeholders who are at the vanguard of tackling discrimination and working to harness the power of football for good, were aimed at bringing up new ideas and proposals with the future in mind.

The conference also focused on the situation of women in football – an issue that UEFA is addressing firmly, in particular through its Women in Football Leadership (WFLP) programme which aims to bring more women into roles of responsibility and decision-making within the European game. FARE itself now has six women out of nine members on its new board, which was elected at the body's general meeting in Barcelona.

"The FARE conference and general meeting was a good opportunity for our members and partners working hard at a national level to come together to assess achievements, look at future challenges and discuss some big issues together," said Powar.