European Football Week
February 14, 2014
European Football Week is one of the highlights of the Special Olympics football development project in Europe with a long term commitment from UEFA spanning 14 years.
“UEFA is very proud to be involved in the annual Special Olympics European Football Week initiative since 2000. Football is a powerful way to instil the values of acceptance, respect, skill and inclusion to communities all over Europe. As the European Football governing body, UEFA is committed to support Special Olympics Football Week so everyone regardless of ability level, has the opportunity to enjoy football.
UEFA Grassroots Day is a great opportunity for intellectually disabled players and teams to be included in activities organized by National Football Federations,” Peter Gilliéron, Chairman UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility
The Special Olympics Annual European Football Week idea was initiated in the year 2000 supported by UEFA. Starting with 15 countries in 2000, currently Special Olympics European Football Week involves almost all European countries. Each country organizes a variety of football activities including large tournaments, exhibition matches during Club and Football Federation events and small local competitions hosted by communities and schools with an average participation of up to 50,000 people.
During Football Week, Special Olympics footballers of all abilities showcase their skills and determination on pitches throughout the Europe Eurasia region. The aim of football week is to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved in the Special Olympics movement using the most popular sport.
UEFA Grassroots Day Poland 2012
Each year European Football Week focuses on areas that need more attention in football and throughout the Special Olympics community.
For example in 2009, the focus was on bringing young people with and without intellectual disabilities together to build awareness and tolerance on and off the playing field mainly through Unified Football.
In 2010, European Football Week was dedicated to female footballers with intellectual disabilities.
In 2011 and 2012 most activities were connected with UEFA Grassroots Day and organized in co-operation with National Football Federations and professional clubs.
Special Olympics athletes receive a standing ovation from Celtic FC fans at Celtic Park. Brochure European Football Week 2013
Stronger Every Year
2013 European Football Week saw over 53,000 athletes in 50 countries involved. 420 local and national tournaments for male, female and unified teams and several demonstration “Unity” matches and clinics took place. Training seminars and workshops for coaches were an integral part of the events.
Italian Serie A promoting Special Olympics Italia European Football Week 2013
37 National Football Federations have partnerships with Special Olympics Programs and more than 70 football clubs support football projects during European Football Week.
Italian Serie A and B, Polish Extraklasa, Hungarian NB I - OTP Bank Liga, Duch Juplier League and Ukrainian Premier League are just some of the top clubs that will support and host players with intellectual disabilities during European Football Week 2014 from May 17 - May 25th. European Football Week 2014 will focus on living a healthy lifestyle and Unified Sports. To kick off the week and supported by the Georgian Football Federation, Georgia will host an invitational 7-a-side Football Tournament running from May 15-18th and 16 European teams will attend.
FC Barcelona defender star Dani Alves shows his suppport for Special Olympics
For more information on Special Olympics European Football Week contact Miroslaw Krogulec, Senior Manager, Organizational Development and Sports at firstname.lastname@example.org
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