With the return of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Women's Champions League finals to London, and in recognition of the English Football Association's (FA) 150th anniversary, UEFA has donated a maxi-pitch to one of the capital's local communities.
UEFA Champions League final ambassador Steve McManaman officially opened the facility on Wednesday at the Churchill Gardens Estate in Pimlico. The unveiling is part of UEFA Grassroots Day, a Europe-wide celebration of grassroots football which has contributed state-of-the-art 3G pitches to all UEFA Champions League final host cities since 2010.
"It is great to see the Churchill Gardens Estate and the whole community benefit from the UEFA club competition finals coming to London again this year," said former Real Madrid CF midfielder McManaman after engaging with local schoolchildren making first use of the surface.
"The Champions Week in London is not just about the Champions League and Women's Champions League finals but also grassroots football, which forms the basis of top-level football. We all started playing at local football pitches and this maxi-pitch is a great facility for aspiring football greats."
The pitch is funded by the UEFA Grassroots Programme and will serve as a quality football facility for the residents of the Churchill Gardens Estate, ensuring a legacy for years to come. The FA and UEFA, in partnership with Westminster Council, identified the estate as an ideal benefactor with a dearth of open space contributing to lower levels of football participation in the area.
The donation is aimed at boosting physical activity among residents, local families, children and adults. It will also provide a venue for two primary schools and local youth clubs to train, as well as informal playing opportunities for young people from the estate through existing and new structured partnerships.
Jonathan Glanz, Westminster Council's cabinet member for housing, added: "We are delighted to have been chosen to have this pitch in our area. It will really make a great contribution to our community and open more opportunities for our youth to get involved in football. The pitch will be managed by the local community through our community pilot on the Churchill Gardens Estate."
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