2015 UEFA Grassroots Awards revealed

Lithuania, Czech Republic and Wales have won gold in the 2015 UEFA Grassroots Day Awards, which recognise the best leaders, clubs and projects around Europe.

Grassroots football communities in Czech Republic, Lithuania and Wales are celebrating after receiving UEFA Grassroots Awards.

The 2015 awards were announced as part of UEFA Grassroots Week, which has been aligned for the first time with the European Commission's Week of Sport.

Who are the winners?

Best Grassroots Leader: Martynas Karpavičius (Lithuania)

Martynas took gold for his work as an educator and volunteer who provides football opportunities in the Marijampole district of Lithuania. He runs successful after-school football sessions and organises more than 20 football events each year for everyone from children aged three and upwards to 75-year-old adults.

Best Grassroots Project: 'My first goal' (Czech Republic)

Czech scheme named Best Project
Czech scheme named Best Project

'My first goal' is a year-long campaign designed to encourage recruitment in Czech amateur clubs. The campaign includes a series of events to familiarise boys and girls with football culminating in two 'recruitment months'. More than 11,000 children took part in 74 events and the project attracted more than 9,000 new registered players, an increase of 32% on the previous year.

Best Grassroots Club: Merthyr Town FC (Wales)

The club embodies the very essence of sport and community spirit, embracing coach education, fun football and small-sided games, while facilitating the sport for a wide target group. With the pitch always in use, the club is able to use football as a means of tackling social issues at the heart of the town.

What they said

Edvinas Eimontas, general secretary, Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF)

"Without grassroots, we cannot speak about a future for football. People like Martynas stand at the peak of all events and are so important for the development of football across the country."

Rudolf Řepka, general secretary, Football Association of the Czech Republic (FAČR)

"I think it's a good thing because it's clear that young players will always look up to the icons and the icons can then inspire them, as we see with this project. That is backed up by our website where our biggest 'face' is national team captain Tomáš Rosický, because we believe that he's the best inspiration."

Merthyr - a club for everyone
Merthyr - a club for everyone

Elliott Evans, community development officer, Merthyr Town FC

"With Merthyr Town, I think what sets us apart is we're looking to be a club for everyone, not just for the elite, not just for the kids at the academy, not just for the fans, but for everyone of all ages, gender, ability, disability ... that's what makes it special."

Honourable mentions

Volunteers Gerry Colhoun (Northern Ireland) and Sten Lerche (Denmark) won the silver and bronze awards respectively in the Best Grassroots Leader category. The former introduced small-sided games for children in the Londonderry/Derry area more than two decades ago, while Lerche had also received the equivalent national award in Denmark after 38 years on the board at Broendbyernes IF spanning a number of roles.

Grassroots projects in Belgium and Switzerland took second and third place in their category to proved that there is some innovative thinking around the continent. The Belgian scheme comprised two-against-two football for under-6 players, to give them more touches of the ball, while the Swiss promotion of volunteers – and the definition of their duties – was also recognised.

Community was the key in the awarding of silver and bronze in the Best Grassroots Club category, with England's Berkhamstead Raiders CFC and Sandane Turn og Idrettslag from Norway claiming the honours.