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Promoting inclusion with Football for Unity 2.0

The European Commission, Common Goal and the UEFA Foundation for Children team up to support migrants and refugees through UEFA EURO 2024.

Activities from Unity 1.0
Activities from Unity 1.0 UEFA Foundation

‘Football for Unity’, a leading social inclusion project funded by the European Commission, relaunched today to promote the empowerment of young migrants and refugees across Europe through the beautiful game.

The project will feature activities connected to the Europe-wide platform of next summer’s UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany, building on the success and expanding the actions of an initiative first implemented during EURO 2020.

UEFA President and Chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children, Aleksander Čeferin, welcomed the launch:

“Integration and inclusion are vital for building a diverse and harmonious society where every individual’s unique contribution and perspective are acknowledged, valued, and celebrated - values that are precisely incorporated and emphasised in football. We are very proud to relaunch Football for Unity today and I want to thank the European Commission, Common Goal and the project partners involved including UEFA National Associations. I look forward to the project’s successful implementation, also during EURO 2024 where we have dedicated plans and concrete actions to promote inclusion and integration all over Europe.”

Football for Unity 2.0 has been co-developed at a strategic and technical level with the European Commission and will be implemented by the UEFA Foundation for Children, in partnership with Common Goal, and supported by UEFA. It will operate across multiple EU member states and is funded by the European Union’s Asylum and Migration Fund.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice President, European Commission underlined the importance the EU attaches to working with partners towards common European values:

“We value this strong cooperation with UEFA on innovative ways to promote social change and European values through European football. Projects like Football for Unity, which benefit from the unrivalled reach of UEFA’s iconic events, can contribute importantly to the EU’s objectives of breaking down the barriers young migrants and refugees face integrating into communities across Europe.”

Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, highlighted the added value of sport in supporting migrant integration:

“Sport helps bring people closer together. The shared passion for football can make locals and migrants realise that they have more things in common than what they initially thought. Sport can also very much help with migrants’ integration. Though this project, important work will take place with grassroots organisations to include migrants in our society. This is why we support the Football for Unity project and we look forward to the results in the participating Member States.”

Kicking off this December, the two-year project will help to transform the way sports clubs, grassroots organisations and national football associations work with young refugees and migrants. A consortium of 14 project partners in 11 EU Member States (Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Romania, Spain, Latvia, the Netherlands and Italy) will drive Football for Unity 2.0's mission to:

Leveraging Common Goal’s unrivalled network of civil society organisations, Football for Unity 2.0 will involve 190 coaches, educators and youth/social workers all over Europe, who will engage with 2,900 young migrants, refugees and Europeans through integration initiatives and non-formal education programmes. This collaboration aims to foster social inclusion, equal opportunities and set quality standards for innovative practices.

As a project supporter, UEFA will collaborate with the UEFA Foundation for Children and European Commission to promote and share the project’s activities and learning outputs within European football and wider society.

Urs Kluser, General Secretary, UEFA Foundation for Children, said:

“The first Football for Unity project gave us a lot of insights which we will expand on and develop in this next period. It has been a real team effort with the partners to co-create programmes that will make the most impact at grassroots and community level for young refugees and migrants.”

Building on more than a decade of formal cooperation between UEFA and the EU, this delivers tangibly on the commitments UEFA and the European Commission made in their 2022 EC-UEFA Arrangement for Cooperation to use football’s influence and UEFA’s pan-European competitions to promote European values and positive social outcomes.

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