How Hannah stands up to schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can be a frightening and isolating mental health condition. Hannah, from Iceland, uses the unlikely combination of stand-up comedy and football to ensure that it’s her who stays in control of her life, and not her illness.

Guram Kashia wins first ever #EqualGame award

“Street football saved me from street life”

Aurio ‘Puma’ Emerson, from Lisbon, seemed destined to follow the same path as many of his neighbourhood friends – a life spent behind bars. But his passion for street football offered him hope, new direction and a chance to pass his wisdom on to the next generation.

Kroos’ amazing meeting with blind Estonian child

Moments before interviewing Toni Kroos, young Estonian blind boy Aron asked to touch the face of the Real Madrid and Germany star so that he could ‘visualise’ him.

What is Equal Game?

  • European football is more diverse and multi-cultural than ever.
  • Our competitions and grassroots projects feature players and fans from all backgrounds.
  • And for UEFA it is important to communicate that football is for all.
  • Respect is a social responsibility initiative launched in 2008.
  • For the last 4 years, this initiative has featured the message of No To Racism.
  • UEFA is now evolving this message to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility across not only ethnicity but also gender, age, sexual orientation, all abilities, and social backgrounds.
  • The new campaign gives all football lovers in Europe a voice to share what football means to them.
  • The new respect campaign is called #EqualGame
  • Because everyone is entitled to enjoy football. No matter who you are, where you’re from or how you play.
  • On the pitch we’re all the same.

My Game

Andri Vilbergsson (occupational therapist, Iceland): On the pitch it doesn’t necessary show whether you are ill or not, or if you have any mental problems. What is so great about football is that it unites us in that way. When you are a spectator in the stands and watching a group play, you don’t know if there is anything the matter with the players, with any one of them. Unless they are limping, or injured or missing one hand, you can’t see if they have illnesses, and it is just so great that everyone should get the opportunity to play football.

David Ospina (goalkeeper, Colombia): There’s so much passion in football. It’s a sport that can bring the whole world together, it really is a beautiful game. This helps people to forget about all their problems, all the things that happen around the world and that affect a lot of people in their own countries. As a sport, football can contribute to spreading a positive message, helping us all to find the peace we want to see in the world.

Parm Gill (safeguarding officer, England): In my opinion, football should be for everyone. You shouldn’t just look at it as it’s for girls. Girls should come. Everyone should have the opportunity. You don’t know what girls can do, we are equal today

Elín Ebba Ásmundsdóttir (occupational therapist, Iceland): On the pitch, everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter where you come from and what kind of problems you are dealing with. It’s the ball that matters, and to get it into the goal, that’s what is important. It doesn’t matter if you are a part of the team that’s playing or a spectator. You forget yourself.

Pernille Harder (footballer, Denmark): When I first started [playing] in the small village I come from, my mum was the coach and I was playing with my friends and just having fun. I think it’s important to have fun and during those first years of playing, I grew to love football. Later, it was more serious and I found that I wanted to do something with football. Then I got the ambition [to play]. But in the first place, it was just about having fun together with my friends.

Sarah Bouhaddi (footballer, France): It’s a joy to have international teammates. I really think it’d be difficult to have a French-only team. Having completely different cultures in the team and international players who can bring in different football philosophies is really important. They also allow us to have a certain balance, as we’re lucky they’re not only international players, but outstanding ones too. I’m very happy we have a mix of French and international players at OL because our different cultures do reflect on the pitch and we’ve managed to strike a good blend.

Stephan Lerch (coach, Germany): I just love the joy that this sport generates. The interaction. It’s a team sport. You have to engage with your team-mates. You have to have trust. You have to believe in yourself, but also in your team-mates. That’s just a very powerful feeling and if you achieve success at the end of it - and that doesn’t always have to be in the shape of trophies, it can be other forms of success like winning or grinding out a draw against a big club - then it brings you together.

Edin Džeko (footballer, Bosnia and Herzegovina): Certainly you start to learn from a young age, all the basic things that every player needs. I think that the work ethic is paramount, regardless of the talent. There were a lot of talented players in my generation, who maybe didn’t work hard enough. I think that the most important thing one can say to the young players is to work a hundred per cent from a young age and then anything is possible.

Alexandra Popp (footballer, Germany): We’re on a platform which is very mediatised, us as well as men’s football. It’s especially up to us, as role models, to go public and continue with things which are more important than playing football and running after a ball. There are so many things which are much more valuable in life. One example of it is “No to racism”. We 100% support that. That’s very, very important to us.

Florian Thauvin (footballer, France): Leaving your country at 22 and adapting to a new culture, new language, different food, a new league - it’s not easy. But these are the things that make you grow and mature. Things are only going well for me now because I went through this difficult period in England which taught me things and helped me grow. All experiences teach you new things.

And many more…

Football stories

Follow Ljubomir's path to recovery through football after a life-changing accident.

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Everyone can play

The world on the pitch

Nearly 300 orphans participated in an event organised by Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF). The aim of this event was to use football as a tool and to learn to solve social problems, and proved to be the perfect method to involve the orphans into an active lifestyle.

Blind children take centre stage in Tallinn

At the 2018 Super Cup in Tallinn, The UEFA Foundation for Children invited local blind children to sing as part of the opening ceremony, and invited them to meet players from Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid.

Lewandowski And Co support Amputee Football

The Polish FA and stars of the national team gave a huge boost to amputee football in their country by taking part in a special penalty shootout challenge.

De Bruyne’s call to Afghanistan

To mark UEFA’s annual donation to the ICRC, UEFA Team of the Year selection Kevin de Bruyne made a special call to a physical rehabilitation centre for landmine victims in Afghanistan.

“Shield of Honor”- Israeli-hope in sport

The Shield of Honor was designed to incentivise fans and club owners to better understand social issues, and to work together on eradicating racism and violence.

Nobody Offside

Every year, the Royal Belgian Football Association organises the Football kick-off, the biggest national football tournament for people with physical and/or mental disabilities. This one-day tournament brings together more than 65 teams from all walks of life. The teams wear the jerseys of the first national team division while famous referees and coaches come for the day to support to these avid football talents.

And many more…