At UEFA EURO 2012, away from the action on the field where players and teams make the headlines, UEFA's Respect campaign will be tackling some of Europe's key social issues, aiming to raise awareness and positively affect the lives of people in Poland and Ukraine.
Speaking about the importance of the Respect campaign – UEFA's social responsibility initiative launched by the UEFA President at UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland – Michel Platini said: "As the governing body of European football, UEFA has the responsibility to protect the game and its supporters.
"Respect at EURO highlights UEFA's continuous commitment to combat any form of discrimination, increase access for fans with disabilities, promote health through physical activity and encourage intercultural dialogue between fans and the host cities."
In the build-up to UEFA EURO 2012 and during the final tournament, UEFA is supporting four social projects with a financial contribution totalling up to €3m. The Respect campaign will be making its impact felt in Poland and Ukraine and beyond the host countries through various initiatives grouped under the four headings of Respect Diversity, Respect Fan Culture, Respect Inclusion and Respect Your Health.
The Respect Diversity programme will be implemented with the cooperation of UEFA's long-time partner the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network and its associated organisation Never Again. It will 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 championship – public buildings and spaces designated as being open and accessible to all, regardless of ethnic or national background, gender, disability or sexual orientation. Also, to date, more than 80,000 police officers and stewards in Poland and Ukraine have received anti-discrimination training to help them identify discriminatory chants, symbols and behaviour.
Meanwhile, the Respect Fan Culture project will support football fans throughout next summer's finals. With the collaboration of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), fan embassies will be 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 aid in unforeseen circumstances. Supporters of participating countries will also have their own mobile fan embassies that will move from stadium to stadium.
In addition, UEFA is working with the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) to manage three separate Respect Inclusion initiatives:
• Under the Football With No Limits scheme, access information will be given 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 get the opportunity to demonstrate their sports skills by competing in football matches before each quarter-final game.
• Funds for future inclusion programmes will be raised by the UEFA EURO 2012 Tournament charity project, encouraging football followers and other benefactors to donate money for upcoming schemes, with UEFA paving the way by committing to donate €3,000 for every finals goal scored.
Finally, the Respect Your Health – Euroschools 2012 initiative 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 smoke-free event.
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