A strong message of peace and solidarity to civilian victims of bombing will be sent out at the UEFA Super Cup in Trondheim, with two disabled child refugees escorting the team captains on to the pitch.
Football will stand united against the bombing of civilians in a moving prelude to Tuesday's UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla in Trondheim.
The showpiece occasion between the respective winners of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will send out a strong message of peace and solidarity to civilian victims of bombing around the world.
During the pre-match ceremony at Lerkendal Stadion, the two team captains will be escorted onto the field by two disabled child refugees – one from Afghanistan and one from Syria – who have found sanctuary in Norway. Together they will carry the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League trophies out onto the pitch.
The UEFA Foundation for Children is working with the Handicap International body, which defends the rights of disabled people worldwide, improves their living conditions and helps them to integrate into society. The foundation supports Handicap International's new worldwide "Stop Bombing Civilians" campaign, which calls for compliance with international laws prohibiting warring parties from targeting civilians and public buildings, with many children often among the victims.
The event in Trondheim will mark the launch of an extensive campaign organised by Handicap International aimed at mobilising public opinion against the large-scale use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas. A promotional video will be shown on the stadium screens at half-time to launch the "Stop Bombing Civilians" campaign. Teenage Norwegian singer Henrik Fuglem will also perform the classic Beatles song "All You Need is Love" during the pre-match ceremony to emphasise the message of peace.
This support forms part of the UEFA foundation's ongoing commitment to assisting child victims of conflict in the areas of health, education, access to sport, personal development, social integration and the protection of children's rights. UEFA, the Football Association of Norway (NFF), the UEFA Super Cup local organising committee in Trondheim, and Real Madrid and Sevilla have given their full backing to Tuesday's event.
"It's a great honour for us to be staging this match, playing host to the cream of European football," said NFF spokesman Leif Ivar Akselvoll. "This match and its opening ceremony will send a message of peace, putting the spotlight on children – the future of our world – and highlighting the role that football can play in the area of social integration. We align ourselves to the campaign initiated by Handicap International."
Handicap International has been calling on the international community since 2011 to oppose the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. "The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is unacceptable," said Handicap International managing director Manuel Patrouillard. "Bombing civilians is not war; it's a crime. There is an urgent need to protect civilian populations and force warring parties to comply with international humanitarian law."
Trondheim is the first Norwegian venue to host a major European football occasion. The opening ceremony, created by Polish agency Platige Image and world-class choreographer Waldek Szymkowiak, will also feature local performers with 120 of them coming from local football clubs, and the remainder from the "Let's Dance" school in Trondheim. Alongside the message of peace, the ceremony will have a distinctly Norwegian feel.