PRESS RELEASE: SOS Launches Explosive Ordnance Initiative with Ukranian Association of Football


Spirit of Soccer (SOS) in partnership with the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) today announced the launch of the Hybrid C-Diploma / EORE (Explosive Ordnance Risk Education) coaching program in Ukraine. Funded by the US State Departments’ Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), this 1.5 million dollar ($1.5M) pilot programme will run for a duration of 3 years, with funding to be used to improve civilian security and to rebuild resilient communities in conflict affected areas of Ukraine.

This specially designed soccer coaching curriculum – the first of its kind – created by SOS & UAF will modify the existing national C-diploma license to incorporate the life-saving EORE module and also include trauma-aware training with psychological first aid skills.

The overall goal of the project is to improve civilian security and to rebuild resilient communities in the conflict areas of Ukraine. The widespread, extensive and continued use of illegal cluster-munitions and other conventional UXO in this ongoing conflict has placed many civilians and the wider community at risk.

By training football coaches in EORE and providing EORE to returning children, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other at-risk civilians the programme will mitigate potential casualties immediately and for years to come. 

Scotty Lee, the founder of Spirit of Soccer commented on the standard of those applying for the programme: “Our work here has already begun – We’ve already finished the 1st session of teaching 30 talented individuals their National C-license. For me it is going to be really hard to choose who or what teams are to take the programme forward because all 30 have been so amazing.” 

SOS will operate the programme throughout Ukraine in areas and neighbourhoods most at risk. Initially 3 regions, increasing to 6 in the 2nd year.

Over the 3 years the programme will adopt a 4-pronged strategy combining the following elements:

1. The training of Ukrainian soccer coaches to a professional UEFA C accredited standard. 60 coaches (40% female) are expected to graduate as qualified soccer coaches / EORE and trauma-aware coaches.

2. The prevention of landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) accidents by trained coaches providing EORE soccer and risk education clinics (1,440) and tournaments (30), reaching an estimated 40,000 children (40% of whom are female)

3. To deliver EORE messages indirectly to an estimated 250,000 at-risk children via the distribution of printed educational material and soccer balls, as well as social media, featuring world- renowned soccer stars endorsing safe behavior for students with guidelines to follow should they encounter mines or ERW.

4. The distribution of digital content (videos, animation, graphic illustrations) featuring EORE messages and to raise awareness about the rights of landmine survivors and those with disabilities to reduce discrimination and promote social inclusion.

Lee, concluded: “We have a general investment and a 3 year commitment from US state department on behalf of the American people.  Sadly, I never thought after Bosnia and Kosovo that I would have to set up such program where we have to protect our children from illegal use of cluster bombs, landmines and other dangerous hazards in Europe one more time.”


For further information please contact:

David Potter

Ben Brett

About Spirit of SoccerSpirit of Soccer uses football to educate those living in conflict and post-conflict areas about the dangers of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.(

About Ukrainian Association FootballThe Ukrainian Association of Football is the governing body of football in Ukraine. As a subject of the international Olympic Movement, UAF is a member of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.(

About PM/WRAThe Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) works to deliver programs and services aimed at reducing the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war.About Us – Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement – United States Department of State