Ukrainian boxing legend Wladimir Klitschko and Snežana Samardžić-Marković from the Council of Europe have become new members of the UEFA Foundation for Children board of trustees.
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Former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko and Snežana Samardžić-Marković, director general of democracy at the Council of Europe, have joined the UEFA Foundation for Children's board of trustees.
The UEFA Foundation for Children, which aims to help young people in difficult circumstances and defend their rights, made the announcement on Thursday following a board meeting at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
"We are delighted to welcome Wladimir and Snežana," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, who is chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children. "They are committed to fighting to improve the lives of disadvantaged children across the globe, and we are now in the fortunate position of being able to call upon their knowledge and expertise."
Klitschko, one of the most celebrated boxers of recent times, has a long history of trying to ensure children have access to life-enhancing opportunities. The Klitschko Foundation, the Ukrainian charitable organisation that Wladimir runs alongside his brother Vitali – who is currently mayor of Kyiv – has helped over 1.2 million children during the past 15 years.
"Every child has the right to believe in a better future and I am extremely happy to have the opportunity to join the UEFA Foundation for Children in order to help others," said Klitschko. "We must deliver the message to everyone that nothing is impossible. Anything is possible if you have the will, the desire and an understanding that you can achieve new goals."
Joining Klitschko on the UEFA Foundation board is Snežana Samardžić-Marković. A former Serbian sports minister, Samardžić-Marković has been the Council of Europe's director general of democracy since 2012.
"I look forward to using my experience gained within the fields of children's rights, sport and integrity to help the UEFA Foundation implement its projects around the world," said Samardžić-Marković. "I am passionate about trying to improve the lives of children, and I am delighted to have this chance to work with an organisation that shares my commitment."
UEFA and the Council of Europe have already forged a close understanding. In May the two bodies signed a memorandum of understanding, which formalises and furthers their cooperation in the interests of the long-term development of sport and its societal role. This will be accomplished through joint initiatives, regular dialogue, exchanges of good practice and targeted projects.
Meanwhile, Esther Gascón announced that she is stepping down from her position on the UEFA Foundation for Children board of trustees. The Bilbao native, also general secretary of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), is retiring from both roles.