UEFA's #EqualGame campaign enjoyed pride of place in the build-up to the UEFA Champions League final.
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UEFA's #EqualGame campaign promoting diversity, inclusion and accessibility in football entered the spotlight during finals week in Kyiv.
Worldwide attention focused on the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Women's Champions League finals – and the festivities in Kyiv provided the campaign and its values with a high-profile platform.
#EqualGame brings together the game's top stars and its grassroots players, and strives to demonstrate that football is open to all, irrespective of ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, social background or religious beliefs.
A series of activities in the Ukrainian capital helped to highlight this message.
Football for All Abilities matches
The UEFA Champions Festival mini-pitch on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv was the setting for Football for All Abilities matches, organised under the #EqualGame/Respect banner.
The matches featured amputee football, cerebral palsy football, Special Olympics football, and football for children from conflict areas; and they aimed to foster inclusion, diversity and accessibility across European football – emphasising that although people are different, everyone can find common ground in their love of the game.
All of the participating organisations are official football social responsibility partners of UEFA – Homeless World Cup, Special Olympics, the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football, and the European Amputee Football Federation.
Another of those partners, the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), arranged audio-descriptive commentary for Saturday's matches.
The mayor of Kyiv, former professional boxer Vitali Klitschko, was a keen spectator. "It's very important to spread the message of social inclusion and diversity," he said, "and we want to do this through sport. Like Nelson Mandela said: sport has the power to change the world."
UEFA Champions Gallery
The UEFA Champions Gallery at the Champions Festival site showcased the history of the UEFA Champions League/European Champion Clubs' Cup and the UEFA Women's Champions League.
A dedicated #EqualGame exhibition underlined six unique grassroots football stories from around Europe.
A third event at the Champions Festival involved UEFA's social responsibility partners, along with the host association of the finals, the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), highlighting the importance of social inclusion in football.
The partners engaged with fans and visitors to the festival by showing and explaining their areas of expertise. People were also invited to take part in a quiz to win attractive UEFA Champions League prizes.
Visit the #EqualGame website to find out more.