UEFA President champions social fairplay in Helsinki07 April 2017

UEFAPresidentAleksanderCeferincalledonmemberassociationstobeambitiousandbackanewprogrammeofsocialfairplay,championingHumanRightsand,forthefirsttimeatseniorlevel,explicitlymentionedsexismandhomophobiaasissuestobetackled.

At the opening speech of the 2017 UEFA Congress this week in Helsinki, Finland, Ceferin said: “Let us not be afraid to launch an ambitious new programme of social fair play.

“Social fair play is everything we can do to bring about a football that is fairer and more ethical.

“The scope is wide. Incorporating respect for human rights and workers’ rights into our bidding requirements also comes under social fair play. And this is something we are officially committing to here and now.

“Being a social fair play organisation also means being an organisation that does not tolerate racism. Or sexism. Or homophobia. Or discrimination against disabled people. Here too, I ask you to set an example.”

Europe’s governing body has for some time stressed a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to discrimination and has developed strategic partnerships, including with the Fare network, to take on the challenges of ensuring diversity and social inclusion, however previous incumbents of the position have never so explicitly stated tackling homophobia and sexism as priorities.

Ceferin also had a strong message for the leaders of national associations, “We cannot stand up for diversity, gender equality and social inclusion by means of TV spots and good intentions if we ourselves tolerate words and behaviour from another age”.

Social fair play will make football more open to fans, players and all involved in football, he said.

Supplied by REUTERS/Antonio Bronic