“Football connects our family across three generations of women”

Ramutė, 60, is a natural-born leader who has taken football to her heart, after being inspired by her grandchildren to take up the game. For the former police officer football has helped to fill one void in her own life following the death of her husband a few years ago.

“I lost my arm and I'm still part of football”

Ljubomir was a promising goalkeeper with Slovenian side NK Maribor until he lost his arm in a tragic car accident. Now, with the support of his club, he's on the path to recovery and pursuing a career as a referee.

“Pogba, Hegerberg, Ronaldo and Messi support #EqualGame”

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

Nadia Nadim (footballer, Manchester City WFC, Denmark): It’s really simple because I love it, it makes me happy, and no matter how stressed I am and what’s going on outside, as soon as I step on the field and see the ball, everything kind of disappears. It’s so easy to play football, you can play it anywhere, you can play it alone, you can play it with a ball and if you don’t have one you can kick something that’s round.

Radu Almășan (singer, Romania): I fell in love with football since early childhood, when I was only 3 or 4. Romania was under the Communist regime back then, and you couldn't really express yourself loudly. Later on, when I met people all around the world, I noticed that every time you want to know someone, two questions pop up: What music are you into? What football club do you support? And then I realised that, even though I tried to be a professional football player and didn't manage, I was able to forge a musical career. And I'm glad that both music and football bring people together all around the world, irrespective of country, race, religion, giving them one starting point for knowing each other.

Ramutė Kartavičienė (retired police officer, Lithuania): Yes, I am a grandmother. I really, really like to play football. And I just… We all try to train more, to learn more about this sport, with all its subtleties, and we are really happy that we play. Others want to play as well, so we say, “Come and join us. Create your own team and we will meet on the pitch.

Augustė Zubrickaitė (student, Lithuania): I like football because the whole team plays together, you have to talk with each other and it’s not just one player on their own. You’re not fighting all by yourself; other players help you. You are not alone on the pitch.

Brockenhurst Football Club (under 14 team, England): Player 1: Football is about having fun, enjoying yourself and working as a team. Player 2: I reckon It’s for anyone, anyone can play it. You don’t need to be skilled, you can just learn. Player 3: When I play it, I get this excitement in me, like I can change the game or something like that. Player 2: It’s good because you can play it anytime, anywhere with anyone you want and it’s really fun. Player 3: No matter what you look like, what disabilities you may have, whether you are a boy or a girl, or who you are. No matter who you are, you can still play it. Player 1: It’s a community, football, it’s all around the world. And that’s the joy in it because it never gets old, it carries on.

Pierluigi Collina (UEFA, Italy): Football is unique in that it can be played in a huge stadium in front of a massive attendance, with television cameras in place, such as for a final, or it can be played in the park by children, as I used to do so often as a youngster, with books for goalposts, without nets or a goal frame, generating arguments about whether the ball went in or not, while being able to enjoy yourself through this magnificent game.

Luis Figo (football adviser, UEFA, Portugal): Football brings about a feeling of passion and love. Football is universal. It does not matter what part of the world you are in or which race you are, it does not matter which friends you may or may not have. I think it's a sport that integrates and one in which you have passion for what you do. It is a unique sport and one that can change the world. That's why it's a sport that I learned to love and that I still do.

Vincent Aboubakar (footballer, Cameroon): I've been passionate about football since back when I was in Garoua, in Cameroon. It's what I did for fun with my friends, but my family wanted me to focus on studying instead, as that was the education my older brothers received from my parents and wanted to pass on to me too. But I kept playing for Coton [Sport] and when the time to make a choice came, I decided to keep playing football. I had started playing football for pleasure, to have fun, but then it became like an occupation to me.

Ederson (footballer, Brazil): As a kid I would play in the streets with my friends and cousins. We played barefoot and our toes got hurt many times from playing barefoot on cement. I think it was a very happy childhood, in which I played a lot of football. I guess that was when I fell in love with football. I've always had a taste for it and I've always kept that with me.

Mircea Lucescu (manager, Romania): Football helps these social relationships very much. Kids find it very easy to become friends when they play football. If some kids have a conflict, they become friends if you give them a ball, because they are forced to collaborate, they are forced to be friends, to hug each other after the game and to feel these extremely powerful emotions.

And many more…

Football stories

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

View story

Everyone can play

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.

#EqualGame in Russia

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

FIGC assists migrants to integrate in Italy

United by football

Swiss International Xherdan Shaqiri recounts his remarkable journey from Kosovo to football’s elite.

Colourful LGBT support in Norway

Norwegian football unites alongside the LGBT community with a clear message - football is for everyone.

Special Olympics Young Athletes Programme

Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) and FK Žalgiris worked side-by-side under the Special Olympics Young Athletes programme and shared the joy of sports with children between 2 and 7 years old, who live with mental disabilities.

And many more…