Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Respect at UEFA EURO 2012

The UEFA EURO 2012 tournament next summer will be a global sporting event reaching millions of people across the world. Football is intrinsically linked to society and an event on such a scale provides an opportunity to use its enormous popularity to highlight and tackle issues affecting communities across Europe. Away from the action on the field, where the stars and teams make the headlines, UEFA has put together a social responsibility program in cooperation with the local governments, host cities and members associations. The program will have an impact on specific issues and leave a legacy not only in Poland and Ukraine, but also beyond the two host countries' borders. 
UEFA invited key organizations in Poland and Ukraine to propose and develop a joint football and social responsibility program under the banner of UEFA's renowned RESPECT campaign. As a result, four RESPECT projects will be implemented at UEFA EURO 2012 - RESPECT Diversity, RESPECT Fan Culture, RESPECT Inclusion and RESPECT your Health. 
The overarching RESPECT campaign - launched by the UEFA president at  UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland - dovetails with programs aimed at combating racism, increasing access for disable people, promoting health through physical activity and intercultural dialog between fans and authorities. 
RESPECT Diversity - Football Unites. 
Working with long-time partner - the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network, UEFA aims to promote the positive message of diversity through various activities before and during the tournament, peaking at the semi-finals. Hundreds of inclusivity zones will be created at the tournament. These are public buildings and spaces that are designated as being open, accessible and welcoming to all, regardless of ethnic or national background, gender, disability or sexual orientation. In addition, a project will be implemented targeting the physical education teachers and sports coaches from schools in major cities in Poland, promoting the idea of creating environments which encourage diversity and tolerance. Also, to date, over 80,000 police officers and stewards in Poland and Ukraine have received anti discrimination training to help them identify discriminatory charts, symbols and behavior.
RESPECT Fan Culture - Fan Embassies. 
UEFA is working with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) to set up fan embassies at the tournament. These mobile units are designed to provide information and services targeted at football fans and to foster communication between foreign supporters and authorities. Services for the fans could include last minute travel and accommodation assistance, liaison with local authorities and facilitation in unforeseen circumstances. These fan embassies will promote a positive and peaceful fan culture and thus contribute to a festive atmospher at UEFA EURO 2012. 
RESPECT Inclusion - Football with No Limits - Showcase games - Tournament charity. 
UEFA has partnered with the Center for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) to manage three separate projects focusing on inclusion. 
The Football with No Limits project is about working with the local organizing committees in both host countries to ensure disabled supporters can enjoy the tournament with full access to all facilities. It will provide access information to fans and visitors with disabilities by means of a tailor-made guide, as well as helping local businesses provide improved services for people with disabilities during and after the tournament. 
The showcase games projects is implemented Special Olympics in Poland and the National Sports Committee for disabled people in Ukraine. It involves organizing football matches for children and young people with disabilities ahead of each quarter-final to showcase young talent and raise awareness of players with disabilities. 
Work on improving the accessibility of sports facilities and public spaces for people with disabilities will not be limited to the tournament itself. Having created an alliance with two NGOs in Poland and Ukraine, CAFE will continue its activities in the two host countries. The funds for these future initiatives will be raised through the  UEFA EURO 2012 tournament charity project. Football supporters and dignitaries will be encouraged to donate money to this initiative, with UEFA paving the way by committing to donate 3,000 euro for each goal scored during the tournament. 
RESPECT your Health - Euroschools 2012. 
RESPECT your Health - Euroschools 2012 project promotes healthy lifestyles among children and their families, with a focus on smoking prevention, healthy diet, moderation in alcohol consumption, and encouraging physical activity. Run by streetfootballworld, another UEFA partner, the project will also provide physical education teachers in schools with information material activity among children. Within  the RESPECT your Health project framework,  UEFA EURO 2012 will also be a tobacco-free event. In cooperation with the World Health Federation, UEFA will ensure a smoke-free environment for all visitors to the tournament. The sale, distribution, advertising or use of tobacco products will not be allowed in the stadiums or within their perimeters. UEFA will also encourage the host cities to adopt a tobacco-free policy for the fan zones. 
The  UEFA EURO 2012 social responsibility program is tackling some of Europe's key social issues and, by leaving a legacy through these initiatives, UEFA's RESPECT campaign will continue to positively affect the lives of European communities for decades to come. 

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