Portuguese champions Benfica supported the Fare #FootballPeople campaign for diversity, inclusion and accessibility in football this week by wearing UEFA’s #EqualGame logo on their kit at their UEFA Champions League game against Lyon.
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Portuguese champions Benfica have become the first club ever to wear UEFA’s #EqualGame logo on their official kit, as part of a series of innovative activities in support of the #FootballPeople weeks organised by UEFA’s partners, the Fare network.
The Lisbon club placed the #EqualGame logo on the back of their shirts for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League game against Olympique Lyonnais at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. The action helped to promote diversity, inclusion and accessibility in football, and backed UEFA’s drive to rid the game of discrimination.
Ahead of the match, Benfica also organised an event in partnership with UEFA, featuring club ambassadors Luisão and Nuno Gomes. The two stars took part in a training session with over 200 children representing the Benfica Foundation and Benfica Football Schools.
Luisão says football can inspire respect
The children, who were drawn from various ethnicities, backgrounds and abilities, wore #EqualGame and #FootballPeople t-shirts. Following the training session, Luisão gave a speech inviting all children to embrace both their teammates and rivals – irrespective of culture, race, religion, background and ability.
“I am very happy to participate in this initiative organised by Benfica, the Benfica Foundation and UEFA to promote the values of the #EqualGame campaign,” said Luisão.
“Football can inspire children to be respectful of people of all races, religions, nationalities and backgrounds. It was a great opportunity for me to speak about this important topic today.”
The Benfica Foundation also invited over 2,500 young people from various social responsibility partners to watch the game against Lyon along with their parents. The partners represented a variety of activities including education projects, support for the homeless, walking football, disability groups, Special Olympics, refugee integration projects and Make-a-Wish Foundation.
No room for discrimination
Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira explained Benfica’s initiatives: "Sport Lisboa e Benfica was keen to join UEFA's #EqualGame campaign,” he said, “because our history, as a sports institution in Portugal and abroad, has always shown that we prize the values of inclusion, diversity and accessibility.”
“One of our great strengths has always been to be an open and diverse place where talent can shine,” he added. “In sports competitions, as in life, there can be no room for discrimination of any kind. On the field, we are all equal and, outside of it, we must all have opportunities to give expression to our differences and competences in full equality.”
“We are totally in tune with the spirit and objectives of the UEFA #EqualGame campaign, because we are part of that fight, because we are all equal!”