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UEFA FSR Workshop

EPFA exerciseWith a view onto the pristine Lake Geneva and of towering Mont Blanc beyond, Schwery Consulting again facilitated the annual UEFA Football and Social Responsibility (FSR) Workshop at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, bringing together European football and social responsibility partners from across the continent.

Each year, UEFA provides social responsibility partners with support to complete projects related to the UEFA FSR strategic goals. A summary of the work done may be found in the UEFA FSR annual reports. You may find the most recent report here.

For two days, representatives from organisations such as the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF), the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Healthy Stadia, and many more shared their activities from the past season, highlighting the good practices that they used to reach their organisational goals.

What is a good practice, you say?

For the UEFA FSR partners, a good practice is defined as “an approach (method or technique) that has helped to realise the organisational objectives in a manner that is superior to other approaches.” An example given during the workshop was the Fosbury Flop from athletics, which was a good practice when Dick Fosbury tried it out at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games, but is now considered the standard approach for the high jump.

Following presentations, a “European Café”, and many opportunities for sharing, partners were given the chance to experience some of the different forms of football and the challenges faced.

The European Powerchair Football Association (EPFA) brought two powerchairs and a regulation football (about the size of a beachball); likened to a video game handset, the highly-sensitive steering and surprisingly high speed of the powerchairs gave participants an appreciation for the great control and skill that is required to play the sport. It may have also given UEFA staff a few gray hairs as partners sped pell-mell through UEFA’s halls. All involved gained a much greater respect for the talents and nerve of EPFA athletes after the experience.

IBSA exerciseIBSA gave partners the opportunity to experience blind football. Participants said that this experience was by far the most challenging, as it required complete trust in the guide and the sound of the ball to lead them in the most basic of straight lines, and it took them completely out of their comfort zone.

These partners, as well as the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), IFCPF, Colour Blind Awareness and others, had given similar presentations in the fan zones before the Europa League Final in Lyon and Champions League Final in Kiev. All have helped illuminate the work that is being done to make football for all.

This ‘playtime’ experience will be repeated for UEFA member associations at the end of July in the Netherlands. The UEFA Study Group Scheme will focus on the topic of football for all abilities.

To end the workshop, UEFA partner South Pole Group announced that the two-day event would be carbon neutral, with it calculating the overall environmental footprint – a total of 7.6 tCO2e (primarily coming from transport) – and compensating for it with the Vader Piet Wind Park project. The associated report is available to download here.

Schwery Consulting is proud to be involved in the work that UEFA and the partners do toward making football more socially responsible. It is a great privilege to be able to guide the workshops each year and to complete the corresponding UEFA FSR reports.