'Smart guy' Rashford impresses UEFA chief Ceferin

Omnisport

Marcus Rashford's successful lobbying of the UK government to extend its free school meals provision showed the "big power" of popular footballers, according to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

Manchester United and England forward Rashford wrote to members of parliament urging them to extend food voucher provision for 1.3 million children from low-income families over the forthcoming school holidays.

The scheme typically only runs during term time but Rashford ultimately persuaded prime minister Boris Johnson to take action, in light of increased difficulties for many of the most vulnerable in society during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Speaking at a video conference on Wednesday, Ceferin praised Rashford and suggested his organisation could do more when looking to address social issues.

"He is a very popular football player," said Ceferin.

"It's a big, big power and obviously he's a smart guy. We are impressed by his achievement."

Rashford is one of a number of players who have given their support to the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in police custody last month.

Protests calling for an end to racial discrimination have swept the globe and Ceferin confirmed UEFA is reviewing its own work in this area, especially with regards to improving black and minority ethnic (BAME) representation within its operations.

"We are discussing about many things these days. We know the situation is serious, and it is more and more serious every day," he said.

"It's too early to share with the public because we haven't concretely yet. We know the power of football and governing bodies is huge, so we should use that for at least good messaging.

"Probably the campaigns we had were not enough. We tried a lot. Still, I think we should come to the next level.

"Honestly speaking, it is too early to speak about our concrete ideas that we are discussing."

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