The Georgian national team player Guram Kashia received the inaugural UEFA #EqualGame Award
Kashia won the award for taking a courageous public stand for equality. Whilst playing for Dutch top-division outfit SBV Vitesse last season, the 31-year-old central defender joined other team captains at domestic matches in the Netherlands in wearing a rainbow armband, signifying support for the LGBT community.
Kashia said "I am honoured that UEFA has picked me as the recipient of the #EqualGame Award. I believe in equality for everyone, no matter what you believe in, who you love or who you are. I thank the UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin for this award, and I will always keep defending equality and equal rights for everyone, wherever I will play."
The initiative for captains to wear rainbow armbands in the Netherlands belonged to the John Blankenstein Foundation, an organisation inspired by the late former top Dutch referee which aims to improve LGBT acceptance in organised sport, as well as the umbrella body for professional football club player councils within the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), the Central Players’ Council (Centrale Spelersraad, CSR). As we know John Blankenstein (12 February 1949 in De Bilt – 25 August 2006 in The Hague) was Executive Member of the EFPM.