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Hungary feeding the grassroots

Published: Sunday 15 August 2010, 15.28CET
Published: Sunday 15 August 2010, 15.28CET

Hungary feeding the grassroots

Once a football superpower, Hungary could again be a force on the international stage thanks to a wideranging grassroots programme that is helping form the careers of the stars of tomorrow, as well as giving youngsters the chance to simply enjoy playing the game. (14 Secs)

TIBOR OZE (Male) 1
Here we have divided the grassroots programme into two. For children’s football we need to use some different methods. Children’s football is for those between the ages of 5 and 12. In this age group having fun is more important than competition. We do some co-ordination tasks with and without a ball, mainly at festivals. Then, in what we call the ‘upcoming generation programme’, for children between the ages of 13 and 19, competition becomes more and more important. Here we pay attention to separate the grassroots and elite football areas. (36 Secs)

It is not an easy task in Hungary, but I think we succeeded. We have partners in terms of schools and teams that are very enthusiastic about all our projects; we have contact with more than 800 schools and almost 1000 teams, they take part in all our events, and we have a country-wide programme spanning the entire year, which has helped us achieve the fact that more than 10,000 children play football in Hungary. (32 Secs)

I think that it is a huge success that in the last year we increased the number of registered players by 28,000. Another very significant result and visible achievement during the past year is that we were able to invite thousands of children to almost every significant football match played by the national team, in the so called child-sector. The average number of spectators was around 10,000 children, and the children really enjoyed these matches because they could see their idols playing on the field, wearing the national shirts; and this, I am sure, is an incredible experience for every child. (36 Secs)

Every year we start the academic year with an opening festival. We try to contact most of the school age children in schools and teams, and at the end of the academic year we also organise an end of year festival when we aim to contact all the children taking part in all of the projects. On average about 2,000 - 2,500 children take part in each of these events. This gives us the opportunity to reach out to them all, and to make the sport even more popular through the fact that the children pass on the message to their friends and acquaintances that they had a good time at these events, and that it is good to choose football as a sport in Hungary. (41 Secs)

We have enrolled many of our young players into various programmes. At the moment there are five grassroots programmes running in Hungary. The Children’s Football Association is a separate section of the grassroots programme. In addition to that there is a programme for over-60 Veteran football players. We hold a school football championship for girls. Furthermore we organise Futsal and football championships for young children. In addition to this, we organise football camp events, festivals, and a summer Grassroots Campus Cup for university football players. Then, at the end of November, we organise a closing festival for the over-60s, which is also the championship final. (54 Secs)

The success of the Hungarian Football Federation's grassroots initiatives was recognised by UEFA when it joined European football's governing body's Grassroots Charter, a scheme established in 2005 which seeks to promote, protect and develop grassroots football in all of its forms. (16 Secs)

Recently our grassroots programme joined the Charter. It was one of the most important events of recent times that we became part of this. UEFA acknowledged us and we received the grassroots star, which was very important, because this means that from now on we can work officially, so to speak. We devised training systems where we train grassroots trainers, so that they could train the children within the grassroots programme. They have official diplomas as well as UEFA licences. We also think it’s very important to make more and more artificial pitches available for the children under organised and good conditions. I think we will improve this programme step by step. (44 Secs)

We have improved significantly since we started to organise our grassroots programme more effectively in 2007, and I am very proud to say that this year we managed to joint the UEFA Grassroots Charter. And by taking into consideration the fact that prior to that there was no grassroots tradition in Hungary, this therefore indicates a very rapid and significant development. In addition to the aforementioned five areas, we expect to also include beach football in our organised grassroots programmes. With the ever increasing number of participants, grassroots areas are increasingly growing in Hungary. I should like to emphasise once again, that this is imperative for making football more popular, and this will have a positive effect even on the premier league and professional football too.
(42 Secs)

We now hope to achieve the next star in the UEFA evaluation system. I think it is very important to make the forthcoming events even more organised and attended by many people, and the mentality that is very important towards grassroots should become known in Hungary; i.e. that football is not only professional, but we should have good football all round and this is why grassroots is very important. It is very important to make people aware of this, so not only professional football should be at the forefront but the grassroots too. (36 Secs)

Hungary's grassroots programme has also been helped by funding from UEFA's HatTrick Assistance programme... The National Football Ground Establishment Programme is one such project, combining social, educational and sporting elements with the construction or renovation of 250 football pitches of different sizes from full size to school size... while the jewel in the crown is the national technical centre in Telki... 10 kilometres from Budapest, the facility caters for all forms of football including futsal and beach soccer pitches, as well as medical and physiotherapy rooms, a fitness centre and library. (36 Secs)

This funding was a great help for us. I can say this with my hands on my heart, that without that support this centre would not have been built at all. We are thankful for the financial support, the 2.5 million EUROS that we received from UEFA for our centre - and that support has covered most of the costs. (20 Secs)

We opened the centre on the 2 May, 2009. We were so proud that the President of UEFA, Mr Platini, also came to visit us. The President of FIFA, Mr Blatter, was also here, as was Erwin Koeman, Ronald Koeman and Frank Rijkaard, and we were able to celebrate the opening of our pride and joy with a very impressive ceremony. (26 Secs)

We have a central pitch which is equipped with all sorts of extras, for example an automatic sprinkler system, floodlights and a small covered viewing stand for 300 fans. We also have two grass training pitches and a full size artificial grass pitch. All of the pitches are lit, and consequently the teams can train here even late in the evening. (36 Secs)

Telki is very important for the whole of Hungarian Football. And since grassroots is part of Hungarian Football, therefore Telki is very important for the grassroots programme too. And in addition to this, we held our Summer Grassroots Camp, which has been given a number of UEFA awards, here in Telki in 2009, with huge success. More than 700 children took part here in three areas of the camp, and last October we held the experimental Grassroots Volunteers trainer training camp here, and a two-day players’ camp in October - so we definitely set out on the route to ensure that Telki has a definite role in the Hungarian grassroots programme too. (53 Secs)

Various age groups use the centre. The national teams come here for a training camp, and there are the neighbouring teams that train here. There are children’s and adult teams as well, so we can utilise these four pitches very well. Hundreds of children come here. The training season is the summer here, there were times when over 3 or 4 weeks we had 200 children per week here. We are very proud of this. (44 Secs)

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