European football’s biggest stars have joined forces with amateur players from around Europe in the advertisements for #EqualGame, UEFA’s new RESPECT social responsibility campaign, which positively promotes inclusion, diversity and accessibility in football.
Ada Hegerberg, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo feature together in two new videos. An extended version premiered on Monday, 11 September. and a TV spot is making its first appearance on 12 September for Matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League matches.
“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,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, who believes that European football’s governing body should be a social fair play organisation, which means a zero-tolerance stance on racism, sexism, homophobia or any form of discrimination.
As a television, 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.
“I think UEFA’s #EqualGame campaign is something that will help football in the whole world – it will send a message to everyone that we are all the same on the pitch wherever you come from,” said Pogba. The Manchester United FC and France midfielder added that he is “honoured” to be taking part in the campaign as it gives the chance to “show the world that we’re all equal and we just play football because we love it”.
The central principle of #EqualGame is: ‘Everyone has the right to enjoy football, no matter who you are, where you’re from or how you play’ and this is one of the underlining factors why Cristiano Ronaldo is supporting #EqualGame.
“I am grateful for everything football has given to me and my family, and this is why I want to give back to society as often as I can,” the Real Madrid CF and Portugal forward said. “I see it as my responsibility, as a person and a footballer, to try to bring happiness to as many people as I can, on and off the pitch.”
Lionel Messi has also given his backing to #EqualGame, with the FC Barcelona and Argentina forward saying that football acts as a leveller in our society and that everyone is united by a common passion for the game. “During the course of my career, our beloved sport has taught me many things, but above all it has shown me that football really is a universal game that is accessible to all, regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation and religious beliefs,” he said.
Every month UEFA will be promoting an amateur footballer from around Europe who is able to show that age, disability or ethnicity is no obstacle to playing and enjoying football.