UEFA has introduced a new concept for its integrity and prevention sessions at youth competition final tournaments.
The educational programme – which is presented at the youth finals by members of UEFA’s integrity division – will continue to include briefings for the teams on the UEFA match-fixing and anti-doping activities.
However, it will now also include a session on facets of the UEFA #EqualGame programme promoting respect, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in football.
Already, more than 460 young male and female footballers have attended the expanded sessions at the European men’s and women’s U17 finals, and this number will rise to around 800 by the end of the summer when sessions take place at the respective U19 tournaments.
The sessions have been making young players aware of the risks they will encounter if they become involved in match-fixing, and how they can report suspicious approaches, as well as the dangers in taking banned substances.
UEFA pulls no punches, highlighting the consequences of match-fixing and doping on a player’s health and well-being, as well as on a budding career – suspension, contract termination, impacts on future employment, and damage to a team, family or friends. The warning aims to have a telling deterrent impact.
Now, as of this season, the educational drive has been further developed to include the campaign for respect and fair play, and the fight to eliminate discrimination from the game.
At the sessions, young male and female footballers hear these clear messages: “Everyone should be able to enjoy football, no matter who you are, where you’re from or how you play” and “respect your team, your opponents and referees”.