Bringing back memories: Football relieves dementia

Malcolm has dementia, and uses Aberdeen’s remarkable “Football Memories” project to remember and re-live precious moments from his life as fan.

Ivan’s arctic ambition

Even deep within Russia’s arctic circle, the passion for football runs deep. Ivan Grebelkin is 14 years old and dreams of playing on the sunny pitches of Spain. Until then, he’s happy to practice the beautiful game and improve his skills amidst the stunning, snow-covered scenery of his native Monchegorsk.

Kimpembe: “We try to send that message out”

We know it’s not easy to deal with discrimination in this world and we know that we can get our message across through football in terms of respect and loyalty. We try to send that message out and we know that football is the number one sport in the world. Although it isn’t easy, if everyone puts in the effort, we can improve that area.

Meet Turkey’s superstar amputee footballer

Barış Telli lost his leg chasing a football onto a road as a young boy. Now he’s gaining respect in his native Turkey and beyond as one of the world’s finest amputee footballers. This is his incredible story.

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

Marco Verratti (footballer, Italy): It’s been an incredible life experience for me because when I came here aged 19, I found myself faced with a different language, different customs and a different culture. I got to meet people who had a lot more experience behind them than me and made things much easier for me by talking me through things. These things change you so much and make you grow as a man. I became a father after two years of being here, so it’s all happened very fast. In football, you often don’t get a chance to stop and think about what’s happening. Things happen so fast that it’s often difficult to take stock and think. When I think about it, I know that I’ve been incredibly lucky, and I’d make that same choice one thousand times over.

Maycon (footballer, Brazil): I think that in Brazil, many people don’t choose the path of crime because they have football and dream of becoming footballers, with football providing a much calmer and better life than resorting to crime. I think football offers an exit path away from many of the difficulties that we live with in our country and that aren’t good. We can dream big thanks to football.

Robert Prosinecki (manager, Croatia): Football has given me everything. Through football I’ve not only made money and fame, but I’ve also made lifelong friendships and had amazing experiences. I’ve played for big clubs around the world, which were the best times for me as a player. There comes a time when your career ends and you have to think about the next stage. You think about going into coaching, which isn’t an easy option, but when you start out, you fall in love with the game all over again, and you enjoy it maybe more than even playing the game. As a coach you can see how your team improves or if your team is falling, and you learn from all of that. It’s a really interesting job, and if you’re successful it feels just as good as if you were a player.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (footballer, England): There were times when I’d play from about nine in the morning to about nine at night on the summer days when you can. It was always better when the summer came around because in winter you have to stop playing about five o’clock when it goes dark and you can’t really see anymore, but when it’s summer you stay up later. You can get up earlier and you stay out later and you can get that bit more football in. It brings a smile to your face.

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.

Zinédine Zidane (coach, France): Why is football wonderful? Because it’s universal and at the same time, it brings different people together, without considering who belongs to which religion or anything like that. We’re all the same. There are some people who do things better or may be better; that’s life. What stays with you is sharing things on a human level.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær (manager, Norway): The game of football always brings people together. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, when you go on holiday you meet people from different countries. My kids now, for example, they don’t have to communicate with language, it’s just body language. You just turn up on the pitch and become friends, and that’s what football is about, to bring everyone together, because there are enough people trying to make divisions between race and language and countries. Football is the best way of coming together.

Abubacarr Konta (migrant, Gambia): Football unites people, that’s what I like in football. I have friends. We go out together thanks to football. When I had just arrived and did not have a team, I was not going out but once I joined a team, we became one. I’m grateful to the RETE! project because they help with lots of things. When I joined the project they took us to many places. We go for training three times every week and they provide us with a coach.

Jürgen Klopp (coach, Germany): You don’t even have to be smart to understand that we are all the same, the game shows you that immediately. You sit in the same dressing room, you go out on the pitch, you play together and if you don’t pass to your mate from the same city, it makes no sense. If you don’t pass to your mate from another country, it makes no sense. The game doesn’t work like that; it only works if you really play together, and that’s how football should be and how the world should be as well, but sometimes, the world especially, can still improve.

Robbie Keane (coach, Ireland): Hi, I’m Robbie Keane. The great thing about football is that it’s for everybody. I played amputee football myself a couple of years ago with Damien Duff so I know how hard it is. But the great thing about it, is that it’s for everybody. All I want to say is that I want to give you my support and wish you the very best of luck for the future.

And many more…

Everyone can play

IBSA event at the Champions Festival in Madrid 2019

We Wear The Same Shirt

Discover the world on a football pitch

Special training for special kids with Lithuanian champions FK Suduva

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.

#EqualGame in Russia

The Russian national team welcomed ten children to their training session as part of a therapeutic sport programme.

And many more…