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Football targets inclusion in Amsterdam

Footballers, politicians and academics will attend the 'Breaking the Glass Ceiling' seminar at Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium, which focuses on institutional discrimination in football.

KNVB president Michel van Praag
KNVB president Michel van Praag ©UEFA

High-profile UEFA, Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) and FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network representatives are focusing on institutional discrimination in football at the jointly-organised 'Breaking the Glass Ceiling' seminar on 12 December.

Footballers, politicians and academics will also offer their expertise and experience on the topic at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam. The event follows on from the successful Respect Diversity conference in September in Rome.

UEFA President Michel Platini, who will be present in Amsterdam, voiced his commitment to the cause: "We have a zero-tolerance policy towards all kinds of discrimination and we must continue to discuss ways in which we can eradicate it from football once and for all. Seminars like this bring opinion leaders and experts together in order to tackle the problem and find solutions."

KNVB president Michael van Praag said: "This week the Royal Netherlands Football Association celebrates its 125th anniversary and on our anniversary we want to give something back to the sport. Our goal this Friday is to sign the 'Amsterdam Pact' for a structural approach to institutional discrimination. Everyone in football should have the same opportunities."

Piara Powar, executive director of FARE network, said: "We are very pleased to be working with UEFA and the KNVB on this seminar, which will deal with some difficult but critical issues faced by European football in regard to the exclusion of women and minorities within the leadership of the game. Our aim is to highlight areas where we can bring about change to make European football more diverse and therefore stronger."

The seminar delegates will discuss the representation of women and ethnic minorities in European football administration, solutions to the under-representation of ethnic minority players in coaching positions, and the barriers faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in participating in football.

Former footballers including former AC Milan player and coach Clarence Seedorf and one-time Blackburn Rovers FC striker Jason Roberts will share their experiences of exclusion in football.

The seminar will also see the launch of new UEFA-funded research on the issue, which has found that less than 4% of European football leaders are women, only 12% of women are employed as senior administrators and only 3.4% of elite level coaches at clubs are from an ethnic minority background.

European Commissioner and European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans will give an opening speech, together with Mr Van Praag. Dr Steven Bradbury from Loughborough University and Professor Kari Fasting of The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences will also present their latest research results on discrimination and minority representation in football.

The programme of the day starts at 10.00CET with a press conference with Mr Platini, who will unveil a Dutch footballing legend as UEFA Global Ambassador for Diversity and Change.

The seminar is for invited guests only. Media representatives wishing to be accredited for the press conference should send an email to: media@uefa.ch