• 11-AUG-2015

Football United for Peace

A human chain created by 1,000 children, together with the players and the referee team, to promote peace and unit.

The UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC, which took place in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Tuesday 11 August 2015, featured a historic moment in the world of football. For the first time, the opening ceremony included a human chain: a symbolic act involving the players, the referee team and 1,000 disadvantaged children and accompanying adults from Georgia and eight European neighbouring countries in war (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) . The aim of this shared initiative by the Georgian Football Federation (GFF) and the UEFA Foundation for Children is to spread a powerful message: ‘Football United for Peace’.

Tbilisi is the easternmost European city to host the UEFA Super Cup since 2012, when the match left Monaco, where it had been played since 1998. Other cities can now host this encounter between the previous season’s winners of the two major European club competitions: the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. The GFF, with the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children, decided to seize this opportunity to send a strong message by giving the spotlight to children from conflict zones in Europe, conveying the idea of peace and unity, and showing how football can bring people together. The national football associations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine all responded positively to this initiative.
 
The president of the GFF, Zviad Sichinava, said: “Everyone will receive a message of peace and unity from the children – a message that is important for society. The inclusion of this message in the pre-match ceremony shows how important these core values are to UEFA – values which led to the inauguration of the UEFA Foundation for Children. I would like to thank all the participating associations for their support in working together to use football’s vast popularity as a platform to promote these vital values to a global audience.”
 
UEFA President Michel Platini added: “Football gives us a great opportunity to be united as a society, and to empower children. Childhood is a time when we exhibit the most extraordinary potential, and we hope that the presence of these children at this great occasion in Tbilisi can be inspirational for their futures. We would like to thank the Georgian Football Federation and its president, Zviad Sichinava, for the work undertaken with the UEFA Foundation for Children in order to make a difference to vulnerable children through this project.”
 
The UEFA Foundation for Children was established in 2015 on the initiative of the UEFA President, reflecting UEFA’s desire to use football as a force for good in society. A number of humanitarian and development programmes are being conducted by the foundation around the world. Furthermore, earlier this year a number of children were invited to the UEFA Europa League final in Warsaw, the UEFA Champions League final in Berlin, and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final in Prague.