Pitch award ensures final legacy for grassroots

UEFA President Michel Platini was present as a UEFA-funded maxi-pitch was opened in London to leave a legacy for local youngsters from the UEFA Champions League final.

As part of the UEFA Grassroots Day celebrations, UEFA President Michel Platini has handed over a maxi-pitch to London ahead of the UEFA Champions League final in the city.

Mr Platini was joined for today's event at St Gregory's Catholic Science College by David Bernstein, chairman of the English Football Association (FA), plus Sir Trevor Brooking – the FA's head of football development – and Fulham FC striker Bobby Zamora.

As well as the official presentation of the pitch, which followed a similar handover in Dublin last week before the UEFA Europa League final, there was also a skills session for pupils.

"We see this pitch as our own field of dreams," said St Gregory's headmaster Andy Prindiville. "It will be the focal point for some extraordinary events, a place where players of all ages and abilities can come to express and enjoy themselves – and make the very most of their football careers."

Mr Bernstein offered his thanks to UEFA for funding the maxi-pitch, describing it as "a legacy for the college and the borough of Brent. We're passionate about football in this country and we know the elite game cannot flourish without healthy grassroots. This facility will help schoolchildren realise their potential."

The second annual UEFA Grassroots Day took place on Wednesday, with events across Europe. The main focus was the UEFA Champions Festival at London's Hyde Park, where a host of activities were staged to mark the occasion, including matches for children, skills clinics, appearances from UEFA grassroots ambassadors and a mini-pitch schools tournament.