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UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis – 'Human rights inherent in everything that we do'

European football’s governing body will use next week’s round of UEFA competition matches to mark 75th anniversary of Universal Declaration.

UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis speaks at the Sporting Chance forum in Geneva, Switzerland
UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis speaks at the Sporting Chance forum in Geneva, Switzerland

UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis has underlined European football’s continued commitment to using football’s visibility and influence to support human rights.

Addressing the opening plenary at the 2023 edition of the Sporting Chance Forum in Geneva, Mr Theodoridis announced that UEFA will mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration by using next week’s competition matches – including Match Day 6 of the Champions League – to promote human rights at every game.

"Our commitment to human rights starts with our own work at UEFA," said Mr Theodoridis, "Human rights should be inherent in everything we do – in how we treat people, in how we listen to them, and in how we deliver on our mission."

Organised by the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, the Sporting Chance Forum brings together a range of organisations committed to promoting human rights through sport.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Theodoridis emphasised UEFA’s determination to deliver on football’s potential to strengthen society’s respect for fundamental human rights:

"In this 75th year of the Universal Declaration we will be delivering a strong message across the world.

"This is the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are pleased to pledge our support for the UN’s initiative to commemorate this important milestone…

"At all of next week’s UEFA matches – including Match Day 6 of the Champions League – we will use our platform to promote human rights at every game."

'Human rights should be inherent in everything we do.'

"For us, social responsibility is not about compliance. Human rights for sporting organisations cannot be just about having a nicely worded policy or initiative. Human rights should be inherent in everything we do. Within our role to promote football, we focus on anti-discrimination, gender equity, child safety and accessibility."

'We strongly believe in the power of teamwork and cooperation.'

"We are proud to partner with important stakeholders and to be in constant dialogue with them to protect and grow the game. We learn a lot from these interactions and football is stronger as a result.

"We have reiterated our commitment to being an active participant in the Advisory Council of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights. We want to engage with civil society, and to continue to play a role to promote universal human rights among the football community."

'We hope to make (EURO 2024) in Germany an unforgettable event that will bring people together.'

"UEFA signed a Human Rights Declaration in Berlin with the Hosting Authorities, which clearly outlines our commitment to respect human rights. We will work together with the Centre (for Sport and Human Rights) over the next six months on the implementation of … this Declaration. One commitment close to my heart will be the sharing of information on the importance of human rights to everyone involved in delivering the tournament, including our volunteers."

'We will keep working hard to make football ever more accessible for all.'

"UEFA will strengthen its efforts to fight against discriminations in all their forms. We know football has a loud voice and can have a big influence. We will also work to make sure that the rapid growth in the women's game is joined by greater efforts to prevent harassment, abuse, and violence against women."