“More than 5,500 grassroots activities have been successfully organized by Special Olympics with National Football Federations over the past 16 years that have resulted in changed attitudes towards players with intellectual disabilities. UEFA is pleased to be involved in the annual Special Olympics European Football Week since the year 2000. We are delighted to support Special Olympics Europe Eurasia (SOEE) towards developing participation at all ability level. UEFA aims to increase playing opportunities to footballers of all abilities at grassroots level. This year's focus is on Under 12 Unified football, which UEFA fully endorses. Football has the power to instill the values of acceptance, respect and inclusion to youth communities all over Europe." - Peter Gilliéron, Chairman, UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee.
Visit UEFA website for more on the partnership between Special Olympics and UEFA.
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 - football.
Read the 2016 European Football Week Brochure and check out a compilation of images from Football Week 2016 here.