During UEFA EURO 2020, UEFA is asking every member of the European football community, from players to fans, to express their opposition to all forms of discrimination in football with two symbolic gestures:
• Creating a digital signature card on equalgame.com.
• Following in the footsteps of Matthijs de Ligt, João Félix, Pernille Harder, Moise Kean, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho – each of whom has endorsed the campaign – by sharing their signatures on social media backgrounds.
What exactly is #EqualGame?
#EqualGame promotes UEFA’s vision that everyone should be able to enjoy football, regardless of who they are, where they are from or how they play the game.
Since its launch in the 2017/18 season, the initiative has raised awareness of how football can play a frontline role in breaking down social barriers and building communities.
Equal Game sits under UEFA’s over-arching Respect programme, which was launched ahead of UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. The Respect message, which is prominently displayed at all UEFA competitions and events, unites all UEFA social responsibility projects using football to tackle either environmental and/or human rights issues.
What is UEFA doing to ensure football plays a role in eradicating all forms of discrimination?
UEFA has always recognised the power of our sport to fight discrimination. It’s a tough challenge. All too often, the issues are rooted in wider society, and nothing will change without concerted government action through national institutions such as schools.
However, with 55 member associations spanning the European continent, an audience of millions and players that serve as role models for countless young children, European football is well placed to do more.
First, by raising awareness through campaigns like Respect and Sign for an Equal Game.
Second, by listening to and learning from everyone in the game who has suffered discrimination, from grassroots football to the top, both on and off the field.
Third, by using football’s popularity as a mass participation sport to educate families, communities, trainers and, above all, children.
Every year, UEFA draws on revenue from the European Championship to allocate €100,000 to each of its 55 member association for investment in social responsibility programmes. In the 2019/20 season alone, 46 of Europe’s football associations chose to invest the funds in projects creating equal opportunities for marginalised communities: refugees; people with disabilities or mental-health challenges; addicts; ethnic, economic, religious and sexual minorities; prisoners; fans; and orphans.
Michele Uva, Director of UEFA’s football social responsibility programme
“We must find a balance between topics where football can make a direct impact and those where our influence is more indirect. For example, by ensuring people with disabilities can play football, our sport is making a measurable difference to individuals’ lives.
“There are other issues that UEFA cannot directly solve, but we still have the power to raise awareness about the scale of the problem. Remember that around 90 million people play football in Europe, making our community one of the biggest networks in the world.”