Euro 2020: Inclusivity in football
There is no doubt. Our long-awaited summer 2021 bring us another event postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, last year. Yes, we’re talking about the European Championship 2020. It has been grasping our attention, and taking our breath-away over the last month. The colorful Opening Ceremony started with the incredible performance of the world’s most popular tenor, the Italian Andrea Bocelli. And now that the countdown has begun, we have decided to dedicate an article about the Euros, as we did for the Eurovision. So, what about the inclusivity in Euro 2020?
There’s much more behind that ball. Let’s discover what it is!
The Origins of Euro 2020
The UEFA European Championship (commonly known as Euro and not to be confused with European Cup!) was held for the first time in the year 1960. However, the idea behind a pan-European football tournament is much older. It actually dates back to 1927 when the French Football Federation’s administrator Henri Delaunay proposed the tournament, but unfortunately, he had already passed away by his dream came true. In his honor, the trophy took his name.
Over the years, the format and the number of teams competing have been changing. From just four teams, now the tournament has a total of 24 teams.
Inclusion vs Division
Let’s talk about inclusivity in Euro 2020 and in football.
Controversies, criticisms, and risks of racism and discriminatory behaviors are always on stage when it comes to big events like football matches.
Before the start of the Euros, Europe was divided on kneeling before a match. This gesture became popular five years ago when the American football star Colin Kaepernick began kneeling to highlight racism in the USA. After that, it spread also to Europe in the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd. It became a prominent symbol in sport and protests.
Divisions also occurred within the same team. This is the case of Italy. The team was still undecided, but in the end, they agreed on kneeling as an act of solidarity. But not as a support for the BLM movement.
“Football is the only sport where people are together, it doesn’t matter if you are rich, or poor, or black, or white.
It is one nation. This is the beauty of football.”
Football is something more than a simple game, don’t you agree?
It has always had the power to bring people together, regardless of their age, race, gender, culture, status or nationality. And this is what we would like to highlight here with the help of our friends, Tommaso and Elena, from Balon Mundial Onlus. Balon Mundial is an Italian association. They work for the promotion of individual and cultural identities by using sport as a tool of community building for refugees and migrants. There are plenty of breaking barriers initiatives and programs organized by Balon Mundial. The one which makes them prouder is for sure the Balon Mundial Cup, the world championship tournament of the migrant communities. It encompasses their value: making an impact on people and communities through sport.
Down below you will find a video of Elena Bonato, from Balon Mundial Onlus, speaking about their wonderful project:
Women and Football
Even though football is still considered a “man’s sport”, women’s participation and female football clubs are gaining visibility (fortunately!). Also on this, Balon Mundial is one of the associations on the frontline trying to reach gender equality at all levels. “Female empowerment is one of the main priorities and challenges in Balon Mundial”, Elena said, and it is our “goal” too!
It has been a tough year for all of us. And because of this particular moment of our history we are going to remember the Euro 2020!
And as highlighted in the official song written to celebrate the UEFA Euro 2020, We Are The People, we need to stay united, strong, and positive.
That’s all from GMD!
May the best (fair and inclusive) team win.