Israel’s The Equalizer earns UEFA award

"FIFA and UEFA attach great importance to social action in the world of soccer."

By JERUSALEM POST SPORTS STAFF
June 4, 2018 00:29
2 minute read.
Israel’s The Equalizer earns UEFA award

IN ITS ninth year of operation, The Equalizer program brings together Israeli children from different backgrounds through their love of soccer. (photo credit: AVIV HAVRON)

The Equalizer program, which operates in hundreds of schools throughout Israel by combining soccer and study centers and value- based activities, mainly amongst underprivileged populations, received a particularly important international recognition last week – the program won the 2018 UEFA Foundation for Children Award.

The Equalizer program has been supported over the past years by the British Embassy in Israel and the United Jewish Israel Appeal, which see the program as an opportunity to support an educational and value-based initiative, promoting equal opportunities and encounters between Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, and more.

The Israel Football Association, which nominated The Equalizer for the prestigious award, has been assisting The Equalizer for several years in various fields – from logistical support to assistance in main events, including bringing Israeli national team players to The Equalizer events, and even to supporting the implementation of the program in Serbia, in partnership with the Serbian Football Association.

The program launched in Serbia this year, a fact that was part of the UEFA’s decision to award the prestigious prize. Furthermore, there is real interest from additional countries to implement the program in their schools as well.

Liran Gerassi, Founder and CEO of The Equalizer, takes enormous pride in the success of the initiative.

“We are incredibly proud to see that our program, which is so successful in Israel, is recognized by such a prominent international organization as UEFA. This is an excellent opportunity to thank the Israel Football Association again for the partnership between our organizations, in the hope that it will continue for many years to benefit the children of Israel.”

Rotem Kamar, the IFA’s CEO, said: “The IFA is a partner to many social initiatives and social responsibility is at the core of our activity. The work of The Equalizer is wonderful and is an excellent example of the values that the IFA believes in – integrating education and sport. FIFA and UEFA also attach great importance to social action in the world of soccer, and especially in giving direction to local associations, allocating significant funds to the cause and instilling belief in this winning combination.”

The Equalizer is an educational, social and sportive organization striving to instill an effective framework for children in Israel’s periphery.

The organization runs teams in elementary, middle and high schools, and combines soccer practice and monthly tournaments alongside study centers which provide educational assistance.

Through the regional tournaments, the children meet others from neighboring towns, with different backgrounds and sometimes different religions. At the tournaments, sportsmanship is instilled and a fair play trophy is awarded as well. In 2017/18, the organization’s ninth year, there are 3,500 children (ages 9-16) participating in The Equalizer’s programs throughout Israel, in about 220 elementary, middle and high schools between the Golan Heights and Eilat.


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