Willi Hink, football development director of the German Football Association, says the donation of a maxi-pitch to UEFA Champions League final host city Berlin should help to leave a legacy.
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A new maxi-pitch has been donated to Berlin by UEFA, ensuring a lasting grassroots legacy for the city long after Saturday's UEFA Champions League final.
The facility – situated at Grundschule am Koppenplatz – is the sixth such handover of a 3G pitch in successive seasons around a final. Joining children from the local community at the ceremony were former UEFA Champions League winner and UEFA ambassador Cafu, as well as Frank Ludolph, UEFA's head of football education services.
Willi Hink, football development director at German Football Association (DFB)
"In this neighbourhood of Mitte, this is a great opportunity to play football for the many children who live and go to school here. Of course, we hope that the children who start playing football here will one day sign up at a club and that maybe a future star starts here on this pitch. I think the most difficult task is to get a lot of children to play football – for them to have the possibility, well-educated coaches and referees, as well as pitches for them to play on. I think it's a delightful idea by UEFA to leave a maxi-pitch here."
Dr Angela Thiele, school director at Grundschule am Koppenplatz
"This is a very dynamic residential area where many different nationalities live and where football is watched on TV and enjoyed in different ways. This gives them the opportunity to continue embracing it, to interact with each other, to win and be happy about it and to lose fairly. The pitch will help them here at school to grow as a team because sport unites, especially football. Here at our school, we have 54 different nationalities who study together peacefully and successfully, and for this the maxi-pitch is a wonderful tool. We are very proud that UEFA chose us and put this pitch here."
Frank Ludolph, UEFA's head of football education services
"We could not have elite players in the game without grassroots. UEFA has invested in the grassroots football programmes of the 54 member associations for many years and one part of that investment is linked to infrastructure. The donation of maxi-pitches has now become a tradition. UEFA donates these pitches to the host cities of the club finals. It is a true legacy approach. Munich has already benefited from this opportunity in the past and now it's Berlin's turn."