UEFA's commitment to football's grassroots is reflected in the organisation's eleven values – and value No5, grassroots football and solidarity, remains as firm as ever, with an exciting period of activities set to demonstrate UEFA's belief that the grassroots are the lifeblood of the game.
The first date on the calendar is the 9th UEFA Grassroots Workshop being held in Noordwijk, Netherlands, between 11 and 15 April, when delegates from UEFA's 53 member national associations will gather with various grassroots experts. The theme of the workshop will be Promotion and Progress, and the objective both to inform the national associations' grassroots managers about developments at European level, and to discuss new ideas and activities which can be implemented on a national basis.
UEFA is intensely involved in promoting and nurturing grassroots football, as it believes that without healthy foundations the game will not be able to flourish at the higher levels – each of today's great players having begun their progress to the top as a child in grassroots football.
On the day of his re-election on 22 March in Paris, UEFA President Michel Platini found warm words of gratitude for "the thousands of grassroots coaches and volunteers all over Europe who devote themselves out of passion and their love of football. They impart values to our children and grandchildren, guide them through the most wonderful school of life and help, in their way, to make our society a little better."
The UEFA workshop, hosted in co-operation with the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), will feature discussions and practical sessions at local grassroots clubs. UEFA will be joined by world football's governing body FIFA as well as various national associations in presenting specific elements of their grassroots activities. Topics will include how to promote the grassroots sector, the crucial link between professional and grassroots football, the beach soccer experience, life skills education, and recruitment of volunteers for the grassroots sector.
Presentations will be given on promotional activities at three major UEFA events this year – the UEFA Champions League final in London, the UEFA Europa League final in Dublin and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark. Representatives of the host associations will give an insight into what is planned at these events.
Particular attention will be paid to the second UEFA Grassroots Day, which takes place on 25 May, the Wednesday before the UEFA Champions League final. UEFA and its associations will be coming together for an array of activities promoting the grassroots game throughout Europe. The UEFA Grassroots Day website is already open in several languages.
That UEFA Grassroots Day – a resounding success in its inaugural edition last year – is held in the same week as the UEFA Champions League final, highlights the essential relationship between the game's foundations and its elite. The elite clubs and players provide great motivation for the next generation of players, coaches, referees, officials and fans.
Furthermore, UEFA Grassroots Day gives the associations the opportunity to put their grassroots work into the spotlight and showcase their activities for children, youngsters and senior players, as well as for handicapped and disabled players. UEFA is supporting the associations with equipment, participation certificates and T-shirts. The associations can also put forward projects for the UEFA Grassroots Awards to be chosen by the UEFA.
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