The RESPECT campaign, UEFA’s social responsibility initiative for UEFA EURO 2012, is being launched today by the UEFA president Michel Platini with RESPECT ambassadors Pierluigi Collina and Clarence Seedorf.
UEFA has integrated a jersey exchange gesture in a view of setting the positive tone for the tournament. “As a former football player myself, I know how important the jersey exchange is for each player. With this simple gesture players show real sportsmanship and respect for their opponents. And this is what makes football the beautiful game it is”, said UEFA President, Michel Platini.
The campaign, aimed at players, officials, football fans and large TV audiences will be visible through a 30-second TV spot which will be broadcast in all European territories at half-time during matches, in the fan zones as well as on giant screens at the stadiums. The campaign is also reaching out to supporters online through a dedicated exchangeyourjersey.com website created in nine languages. Users can create jersey exchange chains and invite their friends to join. A print campaign has also been launched in all host cities with visuals of RESPECT ambassadors exchanging their jerseys.
“It is a great honour for me to be a part of the RESPECT campaign. Football today more than ever needs a strong reminder that everybody is equal on and off the pitch, regardless of their race, religion, skin colour or gender. It is differences in football that make our game so unique and this is what this campaign is about”, said Clarence Seedorf, one of the RESPECT ambassadors.
UEFA is supporting four social projects with a financial contribution totalling up to EUR 3 million. The RESPECT campaign will be making its impact in Poland and Ukraine through various initiatives grouped under the four headings of RESPECT Diversity, RESPECT Fan Culture, RESPECT Inclusion and RESPECT your Health.
The RESPECT Diversity project is implemented by UEFA’s long-time partner the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) network and its local counterpart Never Again. Two FARE international monitors will be present at each match whose job is to identify racist behaviour and far-right banners. They will be in contact with UEFA security officials before and during the match who are able to take action during the game. In addition, the referee has the power to stop the game if he deems that racist behaviour is interfering with the match. Players and coaches can bring the referee’s attention to any problems at any time. Hundreds of inclusivity zones have been created at the tournament. These are public buildings and spaces that are designated as being open and accessible to all. Also, over 80,000 police officers and stewards in Poland and Ukraine have received anti-discrimination training to help them identify and prevent discriminatory chants, symbols and behaviour.
Within RESPECT Fan Culture project implemented together with Football Supporters Europe (FSE), fan embassies have been set up in the eight host cities to serve as places where fans can seek assistance with last-minute travel and accommodation arrangements as well as provision of ad-hoc advice. Supporters of participating countries will also have their own mobile fan embassies that will move from stadium to stadium.
UEFA is working with CAFE (Centre for Access to Football in Europe) to manage three separate RESPECT Inclusion initiatives. Under the “Football with No Limits” initiative, access information is provided to disabled fans and visitors by the means of a tailor-made guide. Through the “Showcase games” project run by Special Olympics in Poland and the National Sports Committee for Disabled People in Ukraine, disabled people will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their sports skills by competing in football matches before each quarter-final game. Funds for future inclusion initiatives will be raised through the UEFA EURO 2012 Tournament charity project, encouraging football supporters and other benefactors to donate money for upcoming projects, with UEFA paving the way by committing to donate €3,000 for each goal scored during the tournament.
The 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. Coordinated by UEFA partner streetfootballworld, the programme trains schools, NGOs and local coaches to combine sport sessions with health education activities. As part of the Respect your Health project, UEFA EURO 2012 has also been declared a tobacco-free event.
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