Clubs, associations and federations across Europe are continually striving to improve their grassroots football and the UEFA Training Ground is on hand to provide a brief rundown of just some of the projects, activities and developments we have featured over the years.
While sizeable nations such as Germany have been using a series of innovative methods to promote grassroots football, as DFB director Willi Hink explains, even small islands have been tapping into the importance of well-watered grassroots: Malta grassroots focus. It is an approach that requires great patience but one that Ukraine hope will pay off when they come to host UEFA EURO 2012: Ukraine’s grassroots focus.
Indeed, far from a mere pastime, football – particularly at the grassroots level – has proven itself to be a real power for good. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a case in point, a country that has been brought together after years of conflict with the help of football: Bosnia’s grassroots focus.
As such, Bosnia have been one of the standard-bearers of the Open Fun Football Schools project, a concept devised by the Cross Cultures Project Assocation in 1998 which has helped to unite Bosnian Croats, Muslims and Serbs through football: Open Fun Football Schools.
UEFA's help and investment has also been especially pivotal in some areas, with HatTrick grants particularly influential: Finland’s HatTrick help. Many countries have also benefitted from the legend of stars of the past, the revolutionary Puskás Football Academy in Hungary a successful case in point.
One of the key totems of grassroots football is the inclusion of all. The expansion of the game among girls and women is just one aspect, with Bosnia once again among the leading examples: Girls football in Bosnia. Norway has also experienced a huge surge of interest in this area, prompting success higher up the pyramid: The Norwegian boom.
While national associations and federations are doing their utmost to promote grassroots football across the board, the work of individual clubs can often be equally as influential. SK Amatar of Belarus are setting the pace in this respect having won the best grassroots club award at the inaugural UEFA Grassroots Day in 2010: Amatar's football family. The UEFA Training Ground also took a look around Maltese club Valletta FC's football nurseries, while Crewe Alexandra FC, ÍA Akranes and FC Reipas have also shown themselves to be impressive production lines of talent.
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