Honour and pride for UEFA #EqualGame Award winners

German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and Burnley FC supporter Scott Cunliffe, winners of the 2019 UEFA #EqualGame Award, were presented with their prizes at the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony in Monaco.

Scott Cunliffe and Hans-Joachim Watzke
Scott Cunliffe and Hans-Joachim Watzke ©UEFA

German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and die-hard Burnley FC supporter Scott Cunliffe have expressed their pride and honour at being chosen as winners of the 2019 UEFA #EqualGame Award.

Borussia Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and Scott Cunliffe received the awards from UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin at Thursday’s 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco.

The two winners of this year’s award are perfect role models in promoting diversity, inclusion and accessibility in European football - reflecting the values of UEFA’s #EqualGame campaign.

“Football is more than just an elite game, football is for all,” said Mr Čeferin. “It’s about hope, diversity and friendship – and these campaigns have been fantastic.”

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin presented the awards
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin presented the awards©UEFA

Dortmund have striven on a long-term basis to tackle far-right infiltration of their fan base, while Scott Cunliffe’s RunAway Challenge, which saw him run to each of English Premier League club Burnley’s away matches last season, raised more than EUR 60,000 for English Premier League clubs' charities.

Borussia Dortmund have sought to change attitudes by educating, communicating with and confronting some of the club's fans with far-right links.

The club has launched partnerships with supporter groups to launch a series of activities and initiatives challenging, among other things, racism, discrimination, intolerance and anti-Semitism.

"It’s important as a big club, with 155,000 members and 81,000 spectators at each match," said Hans-Joachim Watzke, "that there is a lot of opportunity to show one’s colours, to show courage, and we will continue the fight against racism and anti-Semitism with all our strength."

“This award is a great honour for us," he added. "The fight against racism and in particular against anti-Semitism is incredibly important for society, and we have to all make sure we do our best to combat it."

"There are values that are worth showing commitment to."

Scott Cunliffe won renown for his successful RunAway Challenge, which demonstrated how running and physical activity is a powerful tool to achieve positive mental and physical well-being.

Scott suffered depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after working in areas of south-east Asia affected by poverty and violent conduct, and running was therapeutic for him.

Running to his beloved Burnley’s away games – covering some 5,000 kilometres along the way – linked his initiative with his club, his home town and football.

“To be recognised with the Equal Game award from UEFA is massive,” said Scott. “It’s an absolutely amazing thing to happen to me.”

“I wanted to run this challenge and reach out to as many people as possible. This has been an amazing platform, and it will hopefully change other people’s attitude towards mental health, and help them to move their legs, hearts and minds.”

“We’ve raised more than EUR 60,000 through Scott’s running, which is a fantastic amount of money,” said Burnley FC in the Community CEO Neil Hart. “Half of that money has been spent in Burnley on charitable causes. The other half of the money will be distributed to Premier League [club] official charities.”

 

 

 

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