In its 2017/18 activity report, the UEFA Foundation for Children focuses on its pioneering work to help improve the lives of children who exist in difficult circumstances.
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Over the past three years, the UEFA Foundation for Children has been tireless in its efforts to make children smile, fulfil their dreams and contemplate a positive and bright future.
The UEFA Foundation for Children activity report for 2017/18 highlights a year’s work carried out by the foundation, not only in Europe, but also across the world, fulfilling its mission to help children through sport, and especially through football – by providing backing primarily in the areas of health, education, access to sport, personal development, integration and defending the rights of the child.
The report demonstrates in facts and figures, as well as in photos and graphics, just how 400,000 children benefitted from some 74 ongoing projects supported by the foundation in 2017/18. The report explains how the foundation adopted new development strategies, strengthened existing partnerships and expanded its partner network, in particular with the football community.
Changes came in the foundation’s leadership, the report notes – UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin became its chairman, succeeding José Manuel Durão Barroso. Continuity and reinforcement were bywords in 2017/18 as the foundation met its objectives in impressive fashion.
“I am relishing the challenge of giving concerted and effective support to children all around the world,” says Mr Čeferin in his editorial for the report. “We are in a privileged postion, and we must make full use of this to help children living in challenging and difficult circumstances.”
Support was given to a number of new children’s projects, involving funding for the activities of 13 organisations covering a variety of issues. These included the integration of child refugees, and the practice of sport by disadvantaged or disabled children. Outside Europe, the foundation funded 14 different organisations in Oceania, Africa, the Americas and Asia.
Turning to the 2018 UEFA Foundation for Children Award, UEFA’s 55 member associations were requested for the second year running to nominate local organisations that had established projects for children. Consequently, the board of trustees decided to support 20 projects run by European organisations.
The report explains how partnerships with companies involved in joint projects were strengthened, and the partnership network was extended – various activities involved work with Fedex, Lay’s and Konami, including the creation of sports infrastructures in Poland, South Africa, Brazil and Jordan. The foundation is also working with Nissan on a pilot project on youth employability in Europe.
April, the report recalls, brought a major milestone for the foundation – the inaugural UEFA/United Nations Match for Solidarity in Geneva. Many of the game’s legendary superstars turned out for a memorable occasion. Assisted by the Geneva municipal and cantonal authorities, 23,000-plus spectators came to the Stade de Genève for the match, helping to raise money for the foundation to fund humanitarian and development projects around the world.
In addition to the match, which featured the likes of Ronaldinho and Luís Figo, as well as countless other former footballing legends, the Match for Solidarity event also included a unique global digital auction for fans, and a live auction at a gala dinner held after the match.
The report looks in detail at how UEFA showcased the foundation in its various competitions. For example, awareness of children’s rights was raised by a group of 19 local hearing-impaired youngsters performing a Coldplay song in sign language alongside a choir at the 2017 UEFA Super Cup match in Skopje, the capital of FYR Macedonia.
In addition, 22 local children aged between seven and nine walked onto the pitch with Atlético de Madrid and Olympique Marseille players ahead of the 2018 UEFA Europa League final in Lyon. Meanwhile, the 64 teams participating in the 2017/18 UEFA Youth League took up a video-sharing challenge, with the popular videos helping to raise money for disadvantaged children across the world. Visitors to the finals in Nyon in April were invited by the foundation to try blind football, with the challenge being to score a goal while blindfolded, using a special audible ball.
“All of these projects and activities underline just how football can be a driver for social change and improvement – and how our beautiful game can help bring smiles to young faces,” said Aleksander Čeferin.
“The UEFA Foundation for Children will continue to consolidate its work in the coming period, seeking to make more dreams come true and give hope and purpose to young lives.”