Europe (English)

UEFA Europa League Dream Debut for Local Children

FedEx & UEFA Foundation to create unforgettable experience for disadvantaged children


FedEx Express (FedEx) and the UEFA Foundation for Children are working together to provide 200 local children from communities across Europe with an exclusive opportunity to get ‘behind the scenes’ access to pre-match training sessions, hosted by UEFA, and to experience top-class European football live. The program, which began ahead of tonight’s UEFA Europa League Semi-Final second leg matches as well as the Final, has also seen 22 of these children aged between seven and nine get a once-in-a-lifetime experience to walk out alongside their football heroes as player escorts at each match.

As Main Sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, FedEx is working together with the UEFA Foundation for Children to fill-in the player escort places at these matches, the most prestigious in the competition,. They, alongside streetfootballworld, the global non-profit network who use football to drive social change, have identified community football teams from Liverpool, Seville and Basel to take part. The teams all work with children from underprivileged backgrounds and use education, support and development through football to give the youngsters a better chance in life.

This is the first time a UEFA Europa League sponsor has used its sponsorship assets in this way for a community program at the Semi-Final and Final stage for UEFA Europa League, a point Brenda McWilliams-Piatek, VP Marketing for Europe of FedEx is particularly proud of:

“The UEFA Europa League offers us the unique ability to connect with communities across Europe and this player escort program will deliver a truly memorable experience for children from those communities that would otherwise have been out of their reach. We are delighted to be able to give something back to fans that can genuinely make a difference to their lives and is also a first for sponsorship in the sport.”

José Manuel Durão Barroso, chairman of UEFA Foundation’s board of trustees:
“The UEFA Foundation for Children is delighted to be involved in this splendid initiative. Football has an important role to play as a social force and to captivate its youngest enthusiasts. The opportunity for these children to meet top football stars, lead them onto the pitch before thousands of fans, and watch the action unfold as spectators, will give them not only a great sense of pride, but also an experience that will forever remain in their hearts and memories.”

Dr. Vladimir Borkovic, Network Director & COO of streetfootballworld:

“We’re so excited to give this experience to some of the children we work with and thankful to UEFA Foundation for Children and FedEx for delivering us the opportunity. Many of the young people in our schemes come from disadvantaged backgrounds, so we try to use football to empower and inspire them to help change their lives. To meet their footballing heroes, to be a spectator or to walk out in front of thousands fans at a UEFA Europa League Semi-Final or Final, will give the children incredible motivation, confidence or simply pride that can have a profound impact on their lives.”

Children have been selected from community football teams local to the stadiums hosting each of the 2nd leg matches of the Semi-Finals and the Final, which is being held at St Jakobs Park, Basel, Switzerland on 18th May 2016.