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International Human Rights Day 2021: UEFA’s commitment to act


As the world celebrates the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, UEFA’s Football and Social Responsibility division sets outs its plans to use the power of football to empower individuals.


Football is all about people who share a common passion. It brings together individuals of different ages, backgrounds, nationalities and abilities. While the discrimination that afflicts our societies inevitably plays out on and around the pitch, our sport can also be a powerful vehicle for overcoming these divisions.

Dignity and respect, together with equal rights and opportunities, must be afforded to everyone involved in football - in the spirit of freedom and justice. The game should be a community that provides equal access for everyone to play in a safe and secure environment. Every individual involved in our sport should be free to behave as their true selves. Football also has a critical role to play in promoting healthy lifestyles for everyone in our society.

Respect for human rights

Our organisation has a longstanding commitment to running all of its activities and events with respect for human rights and the environment. Recently, UEFA’s Executive Committee approved a Human Rights Commitment, based on internationally recognised principles.

Michele Uva, UEFA Football and Social Responsibility director

"UEFA’s Human Rights Commitment highlights how we are striving for an inclusive culture that reaches all of football – from the game itself to every activity connected with it. No one should be discriminated against or excluded because of their personal characteristics - whether they are playing, coaching, refereeing or organising. We also aspire for football to be a vehicle for furthering human rights beyond the pitch, engaging society and governments on key topics, educating and raising awareness."

Seven policies

To fulfil its Human Rights Commitment, UEFA will focus on seven unique policies, each with action plans and targets:

• Anti-racism

Prevent and fight all forms of racial discrimination in the football environment, from grassroots to the elite professional level.

• Child and youth protection

Protect the rights of children and youth playing football, preventing and responding to any form of harm.

• Equality and inclusion

Apply principles of equal rights and opportunities to all levels of European football to ensure that everyone feels respected and empowered to express themselves, enjoy and contribute to the game.

• Football for all abilities

Ensure that the football environment and its infrastructure are accessible for everyone who wants to take part, welcoming players of all abilities.

• Health and well-being

Safeguard health and well-being through football activities across all age groups and through awareness-raising activities around non-communicable diseases.

• Refugee support

Help refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people to remain physically and mentally healthy and become part of their host community through the power of football.

• Solidarity and rights

Afford dignity, respect and equal rights to everyone involved in football and the opportunity to play the game in a spirit of freedom and solidarity.

Watch this space later this month for more details on UEFA’s approach to socially responsible and environmentally friendly actions and practices to preserve the long-term viability of football.