Football, as an integral part of global society and as arguably the world’s most popular sport, has an invaluable role to play in driving social development and bringing its influence to bear.
Under the slogan of RESPECT, UEFA social responsibility is a systems approach that strives to promote sustainable development in all aspects of football in cooperation with stakeholders. This is not at the expense of profits; it is about how profits are made. UEFA aims at developing the game in a process, which manages the economic, social and environmental impacts of our activities, so that future generations can continue playing football in the best possible conditions.
In practice, we work together with the 55 member associations to make football across Europe more socially responsible and sustainable ─ 54 out of 55 member associations engaged in this initiative in 2016/17 by submitting and implementing projects.
At a time when negative impacts of climate change are felt across the world, UEFA makes every effort to organise its events in a more and more sustainable way. Among the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have identified SDG 13 Climate Action as a priority.
For the 2017-2021 cycle, the UEFA responsibility portfolio consists of the following partners, and builds upon this work to tackle strategic themes that concern its main stakeholders (see below).
Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) network – racism and discrimination
Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) – Peace-building and reconciliation
Terre des hommes (Tdh) – Child protection
UEFA member associations – Solidarity/football and refugees
Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) – Access “Total football total access)
Football for All portfolio:
International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) – Blind
International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) – Cerebral palsy
European Deaf Sports Organisation (EDSO) – Deaf
European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF) – Amputee
European Powerchair Football Association (EPFA) – Physically impaired
Special Olympics Europe Eurasia (SOEE) – Intellectual disabilities
South Pole Group – Sustainability/environment (carbon compensation)
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – Sustainability/Environment (climate change)
European Healthy Stadia Network – Health
Homeless World Cup – Inclusion
As an innovation, in cooperation with the Sport and Rights Alliance, human rights criteria were included in UEFA’s social responsibility bidding chapter for UEFA EURO 2024, and the UEFA club competition finals from 2020 onwards.
The social responsibility communication campaign #EqualGame is part of the Respect programme, conveying a positive message with a focus on inclusion, access and diversity.
Furthermore, as part of its stakeholder management, UEFA is committed to ensuring that the needs and viewpoints of supporters are taken into account in European football governance. UEFA recognises Football Supporters Europe (FSE), an independent representative and democratically organised body, as the official interlocutor on fans’ issues and as one of its key stakeholders. UEFA implements the Supporter Liaison Officer project through Supporters Direct-Europe (SD-Europe), and the Disabled Access Officer project with the Centre to Access to European Football (CAFE).
UEFA recognises the essential nature of social responsibility, and in the vice-to-virtue spirit, fines imposed by the Control and Disciplinary Body contribute to the budget and are reinvested into the social responsibility and sustainability programmes outlined above.
Finally, the major part of UEFA’s core business can be seen as evidence of its commitment to social responsibility. Anti-corruption, anti-doping, Financial Fair Play and many other elements of UEFA’s business functions contribute to a more socially responsible and sustainable UEFA, and have a positive impact on society.
There are numerous other facets to the UEFA social responsibility activities; its DNA evolves constantly in tune with current affairs and the social environment.
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