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.

Eunate Arraiza: Never stop fighting!

I’m Eunate Arraiza, I’m 27 years old and I’m from Birrun, Navarre. I play for Athletic Club de Bilbao and I am the only professional female footballer in Spain with a hearing impairment. To those people who have the same problem as me, I say: never stop fighting! With work, sacrifice and effort your dreams will come true. Courage!

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

Ole Jørgen Halvorsen (footballer, Norway): I love the game itself, I think it’s a fantastic sport. No matter if you’re small or tall, everyone can play football. You can be poor or rich, it doesn’t determine whether you can become a good footballer or not. I guess that’s what is the most fascinating thing about football. Football is for everyone no matter who you are, and the dressing-room culture is incredibly fun to be a part of, and something that is unique to football.

Paul Pogba (footballer, France): We try to be a role model for everyone. We also have to convey the message that everyone can do a sport like football. It makes people happy. When we became world champions, we were all together. Every race came together, we hugged and kissed each other. It was wonderful and that’s what football can give to people all around the world. Sport can bring people together and that’s the purpose of this campaign, to make people aware that football is for everyone. It’s not for a single person, it’s not for a single skin colour. It’s for everyone.

Ada Hegerberg (footballer, Norway): I think what I love the most about football is that it’s for everyone. It’s as simple as that. It’s so simple to have a ball and go out and play with your friends, whether you’re a boy or a girl, young or old. It’s so global and it’s easily accessible for everyone. Everyone can dream and have big dreams of becoming a football player, so that’s the beautiful part of it and that’s what I try to keep in mind as well: That I’m really privileged to be in the position that I am, I’ve worked hard for it, of course, but try to enjoy it as much as possible as well. There are hundreds of thousands of others that wish they were in our position.

Dimitri Payet (footballer, France): I was with my parents when I saw on the television that I’d been picked for France for the first time, and my parents were nearly in tears. These are moments that happen very rarely in your life, but football creates these sorts of moments, you can forget everything else. For me, footballers aren’t the stereotypes that we have, they’re human beings and they share these special moments with the people closest to them.

Raheem Sterling (footballer, England): Everyone should have the opportunity to play football if they love it. They should have the right facilities. Not everyone comes from a great background, not everyone has lavish things. Some people have to build their way up. I love the way they’re building loads of facilities for young kids now to be able to showcase their talent, their ability, so in the future, they can really have a chance at playing at the high level.

Luis Figo (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.

Eniola Aluko (footballer, England): For me, football is a gift. I grew up playing football not really knowing how I was good or why I was good at football. In my local area, there were a lot of boys, so for me, football was my quickest way of being accepted. Playing the game was to be accepted amongst boys, and then I quickly became the girl that was better than the boys. So, it became an identity for me, playing football, being cool because I could play, and the boys thought I was cool because I could play. So, from a young age, even though I’m different from the boys, or different in terms of my background, it’s something that actually became acceptance.

Diego Simeone (manager, Argentina): The culture, the ability to adapt yourself, to integrate within that new society you live in. [You also need] to learn, to listen, to watch… And, above all, [you need] to be yourself. It doesn’t matter which country you come from, it’s becoming more and more extraordinary to meet normal people nowadays. And I consider myself a normal guy.

Aron Winter (coach, Netherlands): I think that discrimination needs to disappear. It shouldn’t be there. We are all the same and everyone needs to be appreciated and respected no matter what he or she looks like, or sexual orientation. Regardless of level or rank, I showed it with my feet, I let my feet to do the talking.

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.

And many more…

Everyone can play

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.

Discover the world on a football pitch

#EqualGame in Russia

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

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.

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.

And many more…