UEFA Foundation awards €1m to European charities

17 June 2020

UEFA Foundation awards €1m to European charities

The UEFA Foundation has committed €50,000 each to 20 organisations to help them improve the lives of the continent’s most vulnerable children.

The UEFA Foundation for Children has awarded a total €1 million in grants to 20 charities located across Europe in recognition of their tireless efforts to improve the lives of deprived or socially excluded children.

Each charity will receive €50,000 in funding support, a critical boost at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on local communities.

The Foundation has also committed an additional €50,000 to support the Youth Sports Games – Europe’s largest amateur sports event – which organises free competitions for elementary and high school students in ten sports across Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. In 2019, more than 200,000 children participated in the Games.

In safe hands- a best practice

One of the UEFA Foundation’s awards winners was the German charity In safe hands. The EFDN presented the In safe hands e.V. project as a best practice example, which is featured in our 4th EFDN Practitioners’ Guide: Player involvement in CSR.


Two goalkeepers, one goal: Andreas Luthe and Jonas Ermes started the first project of their charity “In safe hands e.V.” in 2015. The non-profit organisation chose to focus on children between 6 and 12 years old as a target group.

It aims to use sport as a tool for fostering social-emotional skills and integration processes as well as to teach values like tolerance and solidarity. Since the initiative started, the number and scope of programmes have evolved continuously.


The organisation recently started its fourth long-term programme. It runs the following four programmes in the area of Bochum, where Luthe played until 2016 and Ermes ended his career early, and Augsburg, where Luthe is currently playing for the Bundesliga club:

  • Strangers become friends: Bringing 8-12 years old children from different backgrounds together through football training, using a sport for development approach.
  • School dialogue: Presentations and dialogue with young schoolchildren on migration, integration and human rights.
  • Integration school: Combining a project week including workshops on racism and migration with a football tournament in three different high schools.
  • Colourful ball: Promoting the social and emotional intelligence of primary school pupils. The programme will
    be monitored and evaluated by the German Sport University in Cologne. In safe hands e.V. also cooperates with
    VfL Bochum and FC Augsburg on other projects and activities, including the most recent Bundesliga-wide campaign against stereotypes and racism.


Only a few years after its foundation, In safe hands e.V. has built up a broad portfolio of programmes and partners. The cooperation with VfL Bochum and FC Augsburg has been intensified in the last years. All partners have experienced significant benefits from combining the programme conception and delivery of In safe hands e.V. with the clubs’ network and communication resources.

The organisation was awarded special funding by the German Football League (DFL) and was nominated for the 2017 Peace & Sport Award in the category “NGO of the year”. For Ermes, who works for In safe hands e.V. full-time, the decision to set up the organisation was a right one: “Andreas and I want to show that footballers can use their model role to have a huge impact on society. The joy of the children motivates us and it doesn’t feel like work when we hold an event or training. It is an unbelievable fulfilment.”

He thinks that charity work can help to maintain players’ passion for football, especially in difficult periods of their career. Manuel Baum, Coach of FC Augsburg, supports Luthe in his engagement and sees major benefits for the whole team: “The experiences and values that Andreas brings into the team are more valuable than using the time to occupy himself even more with footballer matters.”

“I take a lot out of the project, like the different perspectives and opinions of the children. I try to use that to adjust the focus of our team, which includes players with different characters, nationalities and religions, to achieve one goal,” said professional player Andreas Luthe.

4Th EFDN Practitioners’ Guide: Player Involvement In CSR

How can clubs, leagues and FAs engage players in their CSR work? A question that EFDN has been asked a great number of times over the last few years.

The attendance of a football player can have a huge impact on the visibility of the project, the participants and the players themselves, it is important that the experience is positive for everyone involved.

You can find out more by downloading our 4th EFDN Practitioners Guide, in which we worked on together with our member clubs, former and active players and received valuable input from the PFA, FIFPro and research by the Norwegian Players’ Association (NISO).

UEFA Foundation- New call for projects

The UEFA Foundation for Children awards were first announced in 2017 and have now provided a total €4 million in grants to help charitable organisations and projects across the European continent.

From the 1st of July to the 15th of August 2020, the Foundation will invite organisations supporting children’s rights to submit new requests for funding on its official website. Its board of trustees will award grants in November. Applicants must meet the following conditions:

  • based in the country of a UEFA member association
  • accept and comply with the Foundation charter and ethics code
  • registered with the relevant national authorities for at least three years and comply with national legal obligations
  • engaged in activities that aim to help vulnerable, deprived or socially excluded children, and must never involve the promotion of talented young footballers


EFDN Youth Exchanges

EFDN Youth Exchanges allow clubs to provide groups of young people from different countries to meet, live together ...

EFDN Staff Exchanges

 A Staff Exchange based on football is a unique experience for both the participants as well as the ...