The UEFA HatTrick programme has assisted in the construction of over 200 mini-pitches in Portugal since 2007, giving more youngsters the chance to play football in a safe environment.
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The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), in partnership with the secretary of state for youth and sports and the sports institute of Portugal, has promoted the creation of more than 200 multipurpose mini-pitches throughout the country within the framework of the UEFA HatTrick assistance programme.
"This project first came about in 2006 with the principal aim of creating, around the country, mini-pitches to encourage children and young people to play sports – and providing them with a safe environment to do so," said FPF general secretary Ângelo Brou of the initiative.
"We also wanted to foster unity and social inclusion in deprived areas from a social and sporting point of view. The success of the first stage of the project led to the submission of a new project to the UEFA HatTrick programme in September 2008, which enabled the construction of 101 more mini-pitches. The Portuguese Football Federation also benefited from the support of private companies, which allowed the creation of 21 additional pitches."
Overall, the first stage of the programme from 2007 to 2008 resulted in the installation of 102 mini-pitches in 19 districts throughout Portugal from a total of 500 applications received by the FPF. The second phase, between 2009 and 2011, then spawned 101 more mini-pitches across 20 regions of the country. The construction of mini-pitches has been an important element of the UEFA HatTrick scheme since its beginnings in 2004, with each of UEFA's 53 member national associations receiving funding to erect pitches where youngsters can play football in a safe environment.