Diversity and inclusion message in Skopje

Thanks to the UEFA Foundation for Children, hearing impaired youngsters will perform together with a children's choir ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Super Cup match in Skopje - and have savoured the excitement of meeting the stars of Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Real Madrid players with hearing impaired youngsters at the stadium in Skopje
Real Madrid players with hearing impaired youngsters at the stadium in Skopje ©UEFA

A message of tolerance, solidarity and social inclusion will be sent to vulnerable children as part of the UEFA Foundation for Children’s active role at Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup match in Skopje.

Ahead of the game between Real Madrid and Manchester United, a group of 19 hearing-impaired youngsters from the local state school for education and rehabilitation, DUCOR Partenija Zografski, will perform a song by the British band Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars, in sign language, alongside the Falsetto children’s choir from Skopje.

The performance aims to transmit the message that it is important to integrate children with disabilities in society.

The youngsters met Manchester United's players at the stadium
The youngsters met Manchester United's players at the stadium©UEFA

Both Real Madrid and Manchester United are lending their support to the initiative by sharing this unique stage and helping to promote diversity and respect. In addition, the youngsters were given the opportunity to meet players from the two clubs at the stadium on Monday.

“Participating in an event such as the opening ceremony of the UEFA Super Cup would be a dream come true for any number of children and teenagers,” says Viktorija Volak, a teacher at DUCOR Partenija Zografski. “But for these deaf teenagers, it is even more than that.”

“It’s an honour, it’s exciting,” she added, “but they also want to perform to the best of their abilities, to thank the UEFA Foundation for Children for giving them this opportunity, and to send, in their natural way, a message of equality despite the differences between us all.”

“Football is a universal language and an inspiring force for integration and positivity,” said UEFA Foundation for Children general secretary Pascal Torres.

“By inviting these hard-of-hearing young people to perform in front of an audience of millions,” Torres added, “we’re sending the message that, whoever you are, wherever you come from and whatever problems you face, you have a part to play in the world of football.”

The pre-match ceremony will also include a performance of traditional Macedonian dances, Maleshevka and Kopachka, by 100 dancers from local folklore groups, and two giant banners featuring the Real Madrid and Manchester United logos will be presented on the pitch by youngsters from the FK Vardar club and local volunteers.