UEFA has organised a grassroots event linked to this season's UEFA Champions League final in the German city of Gelsenkirchen.
The 'Young Champions' event will take place four days prior to the final on Saturday 22 May 2004, kicking off at 08.00CET, on the FC Schalke 04 training pitches adjacent to the Arena AufSchalke.
Tickets as prizes
A UEFA initiative supported by adidas, this inaugural 'Young Champions' event will give over 1,000 youngsters the chance to compete in a unique event – and to win tickets for the senior final four days later. Entrants will compete in three age groups - 10-12, 13-14 and 15-16 - with the winning team in each category being invited to watch the Champions League final.
Football means a lot more than just the professional game," said former Germany international Jürgen Klinsmann. "It goes all the way down to social issues. It helps to make the kids better kids to form our society of tomorrow. That is what grassroots football is all about. It is for all ages, genders, sizes, shapes, levels of ability, nationalities, faiths, races ... everyone."
The 'Young Champions' event is open to boys, girls or mixed teams and is not only a question of enjoying a game of football. It includes various other attractions, such as a 'predator skills coaching area' where participants will receive tuition, plus a chance to see the Champions League trophy at close quarters.
The registration period opens on Tuesday 23 March, to coincide with the opening quarter-final matches in the Champions League. Registration details are available through the 'Young Champions' registration hotlines on:
+49 (0) 9132-843020 (telephone)
+49 (0) 9132-842565 (fax)
Anybody within the three age brackets may take part, with the only proviso that participants will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Gelsenkirchen.
Sowing the seeds
Linking the summit of the professional game to the grassroots of our sport is a very positive move," said UEFA's Chief Executive, Lars-Christer Olsson. "UEFA is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, but we will not be spending huge sums of money on partying. Our aim and our obligation is to channel as many resources as possible into the grassroots structures within the game and sow the seeds for the future of football."
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