Zero Discrimination Day: UEFA’s engagement and key developments
Wednesday, 1 March 2023
On Zero Discrimination Day, UEFA emphasises the need for us to come together to reflect on what we can do, as individuals and collectively, to reduce the incidents of discrimination in football.
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As outlined in UEFA’s Human Rights Commitment, we work to prevent and fight discrimination in European football, promoting a spirit of respect, equality and inclusion.
"In line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UEFA’s Human Rights Commitment aims to ensure that dignity, respect and equal rights and opportunities are afforded to everyone involved in football in a spirit of freedom and justice."
In preventing discrimination, UEFA believes that it is important to identify existing issues, and accelerate dialogue and education to build a more inclusive environment. Some of the current issues identified in European football regarding discrimination include: ageism, anti-semitism, disability hate, homophobia, Islamophobia, LGBTQI+ hate, racism, sexism, transphobia and xenophobia.
Michele Uva, UEFA Director of Football and Social Responsibility:
"Discrimination should have no place in football, and while we work to identify, report and sanction incidents, we are focusing even more on the preventative aspect. We need to build a football environment where everyone understands the negative impact that discrimination has on the sport, and the individuals who fall victim to this. Equality and inclusion should be a natural part of all football activities, and anyone should feel that they can enjoy the sport on a basis of respect."
How is UEFA tackling discrimination?
To fight and prevent discrimination, clear targets have been set within the UEFA Football Sustainability Strategy 2030. These fall under seven human rights policies, for which several activities and initiatives have already been developed and launched.
In line with the strategy, UEFA has also engaged with our member associations in supporting activities on a national level to fight discrimination and emphasise values of respect, inclusion and safeguarding. As part of this work, 92 projects, supported by the UEFA HatTrick programme, are on-going across the 55 associations related to UEFA's seven human rights policies.
With language holding an important role in the work towards inclusion and equality, UEFA has created inclusive language guidelines, to stand as a reference point and a supporting tool for UEFA employees and member national football associations.
In the summer of 2022, UEFA launched a long-term commitment to identifying and reporting online abuse. This project will continue to work with participating teams and associations across UEFA finals to support them in proactive protection against online abuse, while also identifying abusive content, and working with social media platforms to push for action and remedy.
Launched for the UEFA Women’s EURO, we flagged more than 1,300 instances of abusive content during the tournament. Of these, 551 were reported to the social media platforms, with 60% taken down within an hour of reporting.
In June 2022, UEFA organised the first ever Unity EURO Cup, aiming to showcase showcasing the role that football can play in strengthening ties between refugees and their host communities. A second edition of this competition will be held on 28 June, in Frankfurt. The competition has seen an increase in teams, from eight in the inaugural tournament, to 15 for the 2023 edition.
In January 2023, UEFA further leveraged the OUTRAGED documentary series, by sharing a toolkit for national associations, clubs and schools with educational sessions on the topic of discrimination. This toolkit provides material and support for dialogue with youth players, parents, coaches and team staff, with the aim of developing a common understanding of discrimination and how to best prevent it in its many forms.
In the 2021/22 season, there were 74,183 registered disabled players in European football, and UEFA has set the target of tripling this figure by 2030. This will be done through collaboration with disability football partners and national associations.
To raise awareness and share stories around accessibility in football, UEFA also joined many others in celebrating the International Day of Disabled persons in December 2022. UEFA will also take part in the CAFE Week of Action, in March 2023, to further engage in dialogue around accessibility in football, and share key updates on projects being developed.
For more details and insights to the progress across the season of 2021/22, access the UEFA RESPECT Report.