Special Olympics Games to be Showcased at UEFA EURO 2012

Special Olympics Games to be Showcased at UEFA EURO 2012. Under the banner of RESPECT, Games to promote more opportunities in football for people with intellectual disabilities

Friday, December 02, Dublin, Ireland: The power of football to transform lives for people with intellectual disabilities will be witnessed at the upcoming UEFA EURO 2012 when Special Olympics footballers will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their sport skills by competing in a demonstration football match before one of UEFA’s EURO 2012 quarter final games as part of UEFA’s RESPECT Campaign and under the banner of RESPECT Inclusion.

Footballers from Special Olympics Poland will compete in a Special Olympics demonstration match taking place at the National Stadium in Warsaw on June 21 2012.

Speaking about the importance of the RESPECT campaign, UEFA President 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".

UEFA is working with CAFE (Centre for Access to Football in Europe) which manages three separate RESPECT Inclusion initiatives. The "Showcase games" project is run by Special Olympics in Poland and the National Sports Committee for Disabled People in Ukraine who have now begun to prepare footballers with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, visual impairments and hearing impairments to compete in the demonstration matches taking place before each UEFA 2012 quarter-final game.

Mary Davis, Regional President of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia has welcomed the platform for Special Olympics at UEFA EURO 2012 adding: “Here is the opportunity for millions across Europe to understand, appreciate and enjoy the skills, determination and courage of our athletes with intellectual disabilities, and to witness firsthand how the joy of football can transform lives. We are really excited about the opportunity and are confident it will help drive more athletes, volunteers and coaches to the Special Olympics movement.”

Other RESPECT Inclusion initiatives included access information to be provided to disabled fans and visitors by the means of a tailor-made guide. Funds for future inclusion initiatives will be raised through the UEFA EURO 2012 Tournament charity project which will encourage football supporters and other benefactors to make a financial contribution for upcoming projects, with UEFA paving the way by committing to donate €3,000 for each goal scored during the tournament.

UEFA’s ongoing RESPECT campaign aims to tackle some of Europe’s key social issues in the build up to UEFA EURO 2012 and during the final tournament through various initiatives grouped under the four headings of RESPECT Diversity, RESPECT Fan Culture, RESPECT Your Health and RESPECT Inclusion. UEFA has made a financial contribution to the campaign totalling up to EUR three million.

For further information visit http://www.uefa.com/uefa/socialresponsibility/respect/index.html


About UEFA
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative and controlling body for European Association Football, Futsal and Beach Soccer.  UEFA represents the majority of national football associations in Europe, runs national and club competitions and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions.  UEFA is the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA.  The organization was founded on June 15th 1954 in Basel, Switzerland following discussions between French, Italian and Belgium Football Clubs.  The headquarters of the organization are in Bern, Switzerland.

About UEFA EURO 2012
The UEFA European Championship 2012 commonly referred to as UEFA EURO 2012 will be the 14th European Championship for national football teams sanctioned by UEFA.  The final tournament of UEFA EURO 2012 will be held in Poland and Ukraine from 8 June to 1 July 2012.  Sixteen national teams will compete in a total of 31 matches to be crowned European champions.

The UEFA EURO 2012 matches will be played in eight stadiums, four in Poland – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw and four in Ukraine Donetsk, Lviv, Kharkiv and Kyiv.  The opening match will take place in Warsaw on June 8th and the final in Kyiv on July 1st.  No less than 1.4 million fans are expected at the stadiums throughout UEFA EURO 2012 and matches will be broadcast live in more than 200 countries around the world.

Maureen Rabbitt
Communications Director
Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia
T: +353 87 786 6001