28/02/2003

UEFA applauds IFA's 'Football For All' campaign

European football’s governing body, UEFA, has congratulated the Irish Football Association's 'Football For All' campaign, describing it as a "first-class example of how the sport of football can be used to promote positive community relations".

The campaign aims to stamp out sectarianism across Northern Ireland from grassroots right through to international level.

UEFA’s Deputy Chief Executive, Marcus Struder, said: “UEFA are extremely proud to support the IFA’s 'Football For All' campaign and the work the IFA, Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, Northern Ireland Sports Council, and in particular the work of Northern Ireland football supporters."

IFA General Secretary, David Bowen said: “The 'Football For All' programme has influenced Northern Ireland football from the top levels to grassroots, making the game more inclusive and making us all aware of the social responsibilities of sport. Through the medium of football we are learning to celebrate our differences, tackle prejudice and put in place policies to rid the game of bigotry.”

The campaign involves 850 clubs, 1,000 coaches, 600 referees, 15,000 players, 6,000 people with special needs, 15,000 women and girls and 8,000 schoolchildren each year. It deals with issues such as sectarianism, racism, and the participation in football of women and people with special needs.

(MB)

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