Rashford shows football is 'important vehicle for good' - UEFA chief


Paris (AFP)

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford was singled out for praise by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on Wednesday after forcing the British government to change a policy on providing free school meals to children.

Speaking after a UEFA meeting to decide on the format of the latter stages of this season's suspended Champions League and Europa League, Ceferin also hailed black players who have used their platform to take a stand against racism following the death of George Floyd.

"I'm also proud of the fact that footballers are leading some of today's most important debates," said the Slovenian Ceferin.

"We have seen players like Raheem Sterling, Marcelo, Jerome Boateng and many others make important stands over Black Lives Matter."

England forward Sterling and Germany defender Boateng have spoken out prominently on the subject, while Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo took a knee after scoring for his club at the weekend.

England striker Rashford, meanwhile, led an impassioned campaign for a programme providing free school meals to poor children to be extended through the approaching summer holidays.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government had initially resisted making the change, which would see 1.3 million children in England receive vouchers for an extra six weeks.

But as the story dominated the headlines and opposition MPs and members of his own Conservative party backed Rashford, Johnson gave in.

"Just yesterday, we saw Marcus Rashford change government policy to stop children suffering from hunger. Football really can be an important vehicle for good and these examples demonstrate that," Ceferin added.