Football Social Responsibility in 2015

ANNUAL REVIEW: Football has its role to play in driving social development. Find out more about what UEFA has been working on in 2015.

Read how UEFA has engaged with social responsbility
Read how UEFA has engaged with social responsbility ©

Social Responsibility is a systems approach that strives to manage, economic, social and environmental impact and therefore achieve sustainable development in society.

In cooperation with stakeholders, football can be a vector of inclusion, of diversity and change, and of health, amongst others. This year, UEFA has continued to strengthen social responsibility partnerships using football to contribute to society as whole.

No to racism and discrimination
UEFA stands firmly against any form of discrimination and promote tolerance and inclusion on the pitch and beyond. On many occasion throughout the year UEFA has been vocal on the topic through communications campaigns.

Fans across Europe in stadiums and on televisions have witnessed the UEFA 'No to Racism' campaign supported by players and clubs at 40 matches across UEFA's prestigious club competitions and at 54 European Qualifiers. Indeed, activities promoting a European football free of racism took place in October during the 'Football People' action weeks organised by our partner, the FARE network.

On the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in May, UEFA Global Ambassador for Diversity and Change Clarence Seedorf sent a message to promote tolerance and acceptance. He has been advocating against exclusion and discrimination in football again at the Fare conference a month later, while CSKA Moskva duo Igor Akinfeev and Seydou Doumbia had their own messages of inclusivity towards the end of the year.

Captains of Change
UEFA is committed to influencing the culture of football organisations and to progressively open them to a wider range of people with different origins and backgrounds. The Captains of Change programme is striving to achieve that mission by empowering participants to positively influence the environment in their national associations.

This year, UEFA held its first 'Disability Awareness Day' for its employees, while it supported projects from national associations including in Northern Ireland, where Lee Tavinder, head of the Irish Football Association (IFA) refereeing team, staged three refereeing courses to encourage members of the Portuguese community in Cookstown to become active in football.

In Ukraine, Irina Bernstein, director and trustee of Centre For Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), developed a blueprint on removing barriers often experienced by disabled people by facilitating the employment of Serhiy Moskaliuk at the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU).

Football for All
The 'Football for all abilities' programme at UEFA promotes social integration through football and aims to increase playing opportunities for all footballers at grassroots level across Europe. At the UEFA Champions Festival in Berlin, set at the foot of the iconic Brandenburg Gate, we saw blind players in action, Special Olympics and amputee football from the European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF) display their skills watched by an impressed crowd. And later in the year, the Blind Euros 2015 took place in England with Turkey winning the title.

For many years, UEFA supports the Physical Rehabilitation Programme of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), reception of the Team of the Year Award value €100,000, which was this year handed over to ICRC director general Yves Daccord by both Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos.

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we celebrated the Afghan footballers using sport to overcome landmine injuries with the help of the UEFA-ICRC partnership, and shared moving testimonies from youngsters Noor and Ramish.

Total Access
UEFA's policy is to promote access to football for all, across every competition and tournament in Europe. Alongside our social responsibility partner CAFE, the goal is to improve access to football stadia by working with UEFA member associations, leagues, clubs, disabled fans and fans groups. Highlights of 2015 included, Polish football reaching a historic milestone as, for the first time in April, more than 1,000 disabled fans attended a single match, and CAFE's second international conference, supported by UEFA, at the Stade de France, to talk about this importance of access to football.

Looking ahead, UEFA EURO 2016 will offer improved services for disabled people with a view to creating a more inclusive  full matchday experience. The European tournament to is a 'rendez-vous' for all.

Keeping fit
Our partnership with the World Heart Federation calls on football fans to participate in regular physical exercise, and to adopt a healthier diet in order to prevent obesity and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This year for World Heart Day, we asked some of the best European footballers how important their diet is for optimum performance on the pitch.

Tobacco-free policy
UEFA also announced on World No Tobacco Day, that a 'Tobacco-Free' policy prohibiting smoking will be in operation across all internal and external areas of the ten French stadiums staging UEFA EURO 2016 matches from 10 June to 10 July next year. This is an extension of a policy, which has already been applied to other significant matches.

Acting for the next generations
A significant milestone of 2015 was the launch the UEFA EURO 2016 social responsibility and sustainability one-year-to-go report, as part of UEFA's sustainability activities. A wide range of concrete actions are being put in place for the European tournament in the fields of public transport and mobility, waste management, energy optimisation, accessibility or fight against discriminations. For example, an eco-calculator allow supporters to choose a lower greenhouse gas emission travel mode to go to matches.

This is an extension of UEFA's long standing campaign encouraging employees to adopt responsible habits that also save them time, reduce costs and improve their well-being; alongside the offset by UEFA of the CO2 emissions from its employees' flights, since 2007.

UEFA now releases a Football and Social Responsibility Report on an annual basis. In the 2013/14 edition, we learn that UEFA invested some €5m– all financed by fines imposed at UEFA competition matches – through partner organisations benefiting from financial, material and media support, as well as knowledge transfer

For activities of the UEFA Foundation for children, please visit the site of the institution.