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Make the most of Germany's EURO 2024 opportunity

Celia Šašić is one of the faces of UEFA EURO 2024, and the celebrated former Germany forward is eager to use her platform to promote inclusivity and celebrate the volunteers who are the lifeblood of the amateur game.

EURO 2024 ambassador Celia Šašić
EURO 2024 ambassador Celia Šašić ©DFB

It is eight years since Celia Šašić called a premature end to her playing career at the age of 27. A two-time Women's EURO winner and top scorer as Frankfurt clinched the 2014/15 Women's Champions League, she is proving a beacon off the pitch too.

Last year, she was appointed German Football Association (DFB) vice-president for equality and diversity, with a particular emphasis on women's football and volunteering in football. Now she is bringing that focus to her work as UEFA EURO 2024 ambassador.

Šašić may have ended up a decorated international, scorer of 63 goals in 111 appearances for Germany, but she has never forgotten where it all started: as a five-year-old at TuS Germania Hersel, in her home village between Cologne and Bonn.

Philipp Lahm on EURO 2024

"TuS Germania Hersel is just one example of thousands of clubs in Germany that are doing outstanding work – they can't be praised too highly," says Šašić. "People come together, spend time with one another and engage in volunteer work. The best thing about it is that origin, skin colour and sexual orientation play no role. Everybody is welcome and that's how it should be. Volunteer work like this is irreplaceable and, unfortunately, often underappreciated."

Šašić: EURO for everyone

Šašić wants to use EURO 2024 to make the public more aware of issues regarding equality and diversity, as well as the volunteer work done in football. "For me, a European Championship is about more than just football," she says. "Obviously, we all want to see brilliant games and the biggest stars. However, I also want to help present Germany as a place that is open to all. Let's make this a huge celebration together, just like we did back in 2006 [for the FIFA World Cup]."

Šašić is on the road a lot at the moment, promoting next summer's finals together with tournament director Philipp Lahm. The pair agree that EURO 2024 can only be deemed a success if it's a tournament for everyone and promotes all those individuals who devote their time and energy to Germany's 24,000 football clubs. "EURO 2024 should be a driving force for the common good and give the large numbers who volunteer at clubs a platform," states Šašić.

Women's football passion

While Šašić is in the thick of things for EURO 2024, she keeps a keen on the women's game as a passionate fan. "Our national team gave a great account of themselves last year at the EURO in England, both on and off the pitch," she says. "They have gained a lot of fans off the back of that, building expectations, and we need to build on it. I don't know if a women's international game has ever been the most viewed sporting event on [German] TV in a calendar year before.

"We set the bar really high last year. We showed that we are one of the best teams in the world again. I'm therefore confident that we can have another good tournament at the World Cup."

Germany begin their FIFA Women's World Cup campaign in Australia and New Zealand against Morocco on 24 July.

Celia Šašić: My Magic Moment

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