“More than 5000 grassroots activities have been successfully organised by Special Olympics with National Football Federations over the past 15 years that have resulted in changed attitudes towards players with intellectual disabilities. UEFA is delighted with the many playing opportunities the annual Special Olympics European Football Week has helped to create since 2000. We are committed to continuing our support of Special Olympics football activities so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy football, regardless of their ability level. This year's focus is on Unified football and improving the fitness of athletes, which UEFA fully endorses. Football is a very powerful way to promote the values of acceptance, respect and inclusion to communities all over Europe.” said Peter Gilliéron, UEFA, Chairman of the Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee.
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 55,000 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.
Check out images from Special Olympics Hellas.