In the week leading up to this seasons Champions League draw in Monaco, UEFA launched #EqualGame, a new UEFA RESPECT social responsibility campaign that will positively promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility in football throughout Europe.
Some of world football’s biggest stars, including Ada Hegerberg, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba, are leading the #EqualGame campaign, which is in line with UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin’s vision of increasing inclusion and accessibility across the European game.
As a digital and social media campaign involving global football stars, local grassroots players and fans, #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 campaign can be accessed online via www.equalgame.com.
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.
Speaking at the launch of #EqualGame, Manchester United FC and France midfielder Paul Pogba said:
"Football is my passion and there are many reasons why I love the game. People all over the world are different, but we all can find common ground in our love of football. This means football belongs to everyone, and we all should have the chance to play and enjoy it.
"That’s why I’m supporting UEFA’s #EqualGame campaign – it’s a chance to show that no matter who you are, and wherever you’re from, there’s a way to get involved and enjoy football. 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."
A TV advertisement will be broadcast on television alongside and during UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches – commencing at the start of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage on 12 September. It will also be supported by a comprehensive, European-wide multi-media awareness programme.
Ada Hegerberg, Olympique Lyonnais and Norway forward, said:
"Football is popular all over the world, and it plays such an important part in people’s lives. This means the game has the power to change attitudes and help communities achieve positive social change.
"I’m backing UEFA’s #EqualGame campaign because I want everyone, and especially young girls, to believe football is for them and they have the right to play and enjoy the game. If we can increase diversity in the game and get more people playing, football will be stronger."
#EqualGame is also supported by the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network, an umbrella organisation that brings together individuals, informal groups and organisations driven to combat inequality in football and use the sport as a means for social change.
Piara Powar, FARE network Executive Director, said:
"By promoting inclusion and increasing awareness of all the types of football that exist, UEFA is spreading a positive message that football is for everyone, regardless of gender, race or religion."