The UEFA Foundation for Children has teamed up with the Real Madrid Foundation to give children the opportunity to engage in sporting, educational and social activities crucial to their development.
The Real Madrid Foundation works around the world, with its main objective to promote the values of sport as an educational and social tool.
Having access to sport is vital for any youngster. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, sport teaches children important life skills and values, such as teamwork, respect and motivation. However, for different reasons, not all children have the opportunity to train with qualified coaches.
Together, the UEFA Foundation for Children and the Real Madrid Foundation are providing much-needed access for 600 children in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom, while 14 schools in Madrid are also part of the programme.
Children receive the opportunity to participate in weekly sessions and tournaments where they are able to interact with others who are following the same educational curriculum, devised by the Real Madrid Foundation. The programme also has the added benefit of training coaches, who will pass on the valuable knowledge they have learned, thereby allowing even more children to benefit from the initiative.
Expert’s verdict: Emilio Butragueño
“We all played football on the street, at least those from my generation,” said Butragueño, director of Institutional Relations at Real Madrid.
“We played with a bag of potatoes, making it more or less into a ball shape with some string. This remains the same: in any shanty town you can play football. The idea was to get closer to these kids and use football as an educative tool to transmit values.
“The footballing world, in general, is generous – there’s global sensitivity towards those who need it the most. Perhaps it’s because we started earlier or because we have found the ideal model to show our solidarity, but we are particularly useful for the communities where we work. But all the footballing world, each in their own way, stands out for its willingness to help.”