The 2019/20 UEFA Foundation for Children activity report shows the power of football to change children’s lives despite the obstacles and adversity created by a global pandemic – from refugee camps and deprived inner-city communities to war zones in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Article top media content
Since 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children’s pioneering campaign to use football to drive social good has improved the lives of more than 1 million children, across 275 projects in 109 countries.Read the 2019/20 UEFA Foundation for Children activity report
The 2019/20 season was particularly unusual, to say the least. While it marked the foundation’s fifth anniversary, it was also a year filled with innumerable challenges owing to the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 virus.
During the year, the foundation’s parent organisation, UEFA, expressed a clear desire to consolidate its support for the protection of children, as well as the promotion of equal opportunities for all.
In 2019/20, the distribution of the foundation’s funding was split equally between projects located in Europe and other continents.
The foundation’s tireless efforts to make a difference to children’s lives and put smiles on young faces are showcased throughout the report in a series of real-life stories from Europe and beyond.
Less than 24 hours after the creation of Common Goal’s COVID-19 Response Fund, the UEFA Foundation for Children decided to support the initiative, becoming the fund’s first institutional backer.
In supporting the fund, the foundation’s aim is to help tackle the immediate effects of the pandemic on children and young people, while ensuring that support continues beyond the initial emergency response, with a focus on deprived communities and conflict settings.
Since launching its COVID-19 Response Fund on 8 April 2020, Common Goal has allocated the first round of funding to 27 community organisations.
Child safeguarding policy
In 2019/20, UEFA developed a child safeguarding policy to help all European football associations better defend and protect children while they play football – a principle that underpins all the foundation’s activities.
An increase in the foundation’s operational budget also boosted its ability to act. All these factors enabled the foundation to play an important role during the health crisis that shook the world in 2020.
Listening, coordinating and adapting responses were the watchwords of the foundation’s work with its various partners. By helping children and their families to confront this crisis, the foundation was able to minimise the pandemic’s economic and social impact, reduce inequalities and prevent an increase in hardship.
UEFA President: 'Football is an extremely powerful tool'
"The UEFA Foundation for Children projects help communities across the world," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, who is also the chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees.
"Football is a very influential and powerful tool in bringing people together and undoubtedly helps children develop important life skills such as teamwork, decision making and communication.
"I have witnessed the abundant benefits first hand having had the privileged chance to be personally involved in many UEFA Foundation for Children projects."
While many of the projects supported over the past five years have emphasised children’s health, education and integration, the foundation is now setting fresh objectives.
Attention will also focus in future on victims of conflict, especially refugees, and the promotion of youth employment through football.
"From refugee camps to the many suburbs of European cities to the forgotten conflict zones," added the UEFA President, "all of the UEFA Foundation for Children activities have further reinforced my desire to see European football accept its role in the social progress of young citizens all over the world."