Following in the oversized footsteps of rabbits (two), lions (one and a half) and a cockerel, Albärt the teddy bear is the official mascot for the 2024 UEFA European Championship in Germany.
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The official mascot for UEFA EURO 2024 has been named Albärt following a vote conducted among UEFA.com users and schoolchildren across Europe, through the UEFA Football in Schools programme.
The teddy bear follows in the illustrious oversized footsteps of the likes of Berni, Goaliath, Rabbit and Kinas, all of whom were mascots at EURO final tournaments. Bärnardo, Bärnheart and Herzi von Bär (all puns on the German word for bear) were also shortlisted as names for the mascot, but Albärt won out with 32% of the vote.
The ursine mascot was first introduced to Germany fans ahead of the national team’s 20 June friendly game against Colombia at the Arena AufSchalke, but made his debut on the same morning at a primary school elsewhere in Gelsenkirchen, highlighting an ambition to inspire children across Europe to get active and encourage a love of football and its values.
"As a parent, I know how important it is to stimulate children's imagination," explained Phillip Lahm, EURO 2024 tournament director. "With the launch of our tournament mascot, we hope to create a fun and likeable character that will inspire them to enjoy playing football."
The mascot will start its #MakeMoves journey in schools across Europe, challenging pupils to use their own physical activity to spark the mascot into life and make it move. Children will be able to create their own special skills and celebrations and have them transformed into mascot animations for the tournament using cutting-edge motion capture technology.
Celia Šašić, EURO 2024 tournament ambassador and DFB vice-president, added: "You can't lay the foundations for motion, playfulness and team spirit early enough. It's great to see UEFA inspiring the next generation to build self-confidence, live an active lifestyle and understand the importance team spirit - all important life lessons that will shape their future. This mascot will deliver that powerful message."