August 24 – Some of world football’s biggest stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba, are leading the #EqualGame campaign, a new digital and social media platform launched by UEFA to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility to football.
Just when FIFA appears to be giving less publicity to its anti-discrimination message, UEFA is expanding its own No To Racism initiative to embrace themes such as gender diversity, grassroots football and older players.
Pogba helped launch the upgraded campaign in Monaco on Wednesday ahead of today’s Champions League draw.
“It’s all about respect, all about equality everywhere in the world. We’re all equal when we play football,” said the Manchester United and French international star. “This campaign, I’m really honoured to do it. We do what we love on the pitch and that’s the message we want to give to everyone.
“If we can improve the diversity and access to football, the game will grow and be better for everyone. I think football can help bring communities together and show, on and off the pitch, we are all equal.”
“Outside the pitch you’re just you, I’m just Paul, normal Paul. We’re human beings. We’re not gods. We’re just normal people who should respect each other because we’re all equal. The message we can give on the pitch and outside the pitch can help the world.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, speaking alongside Pogba, said: “It is vitally important that UEFA makes football accessible for everyone and, through the power of sport, becomes a global leader to fight for social equality. We have to promote diversity and inclusion and accessibility. It’s not about football, it’s about promoting that through the power of football in our daily lives.
“What is important is that you don’t just make TV spots, you have to act. There is a perception that players care only about their contracts but all our ambassadors have shown something different and have done much more than we have asked of them.”
#EqualGame offers a platform to elite, amateur and grassroots players across the continent to share their personal footballing stories and highlight how the sport has helped them in their lives.
A UEFA statement added: “#EqualGame will generate positive public awareness of all the different ways people can play and enjoy football – including, for example, walking football for older players, grassroots women’s football and football for people with physical impairments.
“The new campaign underlines UEFA’s mission to ensure that the game is open and accessible to all, and that there is respect for equality across ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical ability and social differences.”
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