For the UEFA Foundation for Children, the UEFA Super Cup is much more than the result on the pitch. It is an opportunity to support some inspirational local projects and give the children involved an evening they will never forget.
The match also provides a platform for messages of inclusion and hope that demonstrate football’s positive influence and how it gives even the most vulnerable children a brighter outlook on life.
“The UEFA Super Cup does not only offer football fans across Europe the chance to watch the world’s biggest stars in the spectacular season opener. It also allows UEFA and its Foundation for Children to engage directly with local youth projects. Using the power of our beautiful sport, together we will remain a driving force for positive and lasting changes across Europe, raising awareness about children’s problems and overcoming them,” UEFA President and Chairman of UEFA Foundation for Children Aleksander Čeferin said. “Our Foundation looks forward to working alongside the Football Association of Finland on vital local grassroots projects focused on children’s well-being, simultaneously offering the local youngsters beautiful memories and opportunities to enjoy football.”
“We are very proud and happy that the UEFA Super Cup will be held in Finland and to see local children take part in this event. Together with UEFA and its Foundation for Children we will offer a unique lifetime experience to the young players and raise awareness of disability football,” Ari Lahti, President of the Football Association of Finland added.
The 2022 UEFA Super Cup will shine a spotlight on the Cerebral Palsy (CP) Football Association of Finland that is developing its youth section. Four children will be selected to be Mastercard player mascots lined up next to the Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt players. This unique opportunity means a lot to these youngsters and motivates them to aim higher and follow their dreams.
“The children selected for the Super Cup made an impression with their enthusiasm and skill in the first youth cerebral palsy football event held in May,” says CP football project coordinator Ville Sallinen. “They are very honoured, excited and a little bit nervous – but in a good way!”
To raise awareness ahead of the UEFA Super Cup night, the Football Association of Finland (SPL) and the CP Football Association will host a football event for young players with cerebral palsy and professional football players with and without cerebral palsy. There will be workshops and a demonstration of CP football.
“Disability football has been an important part of Finnish grassroots football for more than 25 years,” said Lasse Keski-Loppi, a grassroots expert at the SPL. “We are proud to have our grassroots programme showcased at the 2022 UEFA Super Cup. This year our association launched its own CP football programme to promote football for all in Finland. I am sure that the Super Cup will give the programme the visibility it needs at all levels. This CP programme for youngsters and young talents helps many new young players to participate in football and follow their football dreams. We all do share the same game.”
Meanwhile, 20 youngsters from the Icehearts association will play a key role in the opening ceremony, acting as central circle carriers. Icehearts prevents social exclusion, enhances social skills and promotes the well-being of vulnerable children.
“When selecting the children to take part in the Super Cup, we wanted to reward those who have made special efforts in their studies and share a true passion for football,” says Karo Koivunen of Icehearts. “They are excited to be part of this magical moment – football is their life!”