A week of online activity has demonstrated the enthusiasm and appetite for the grassroots game across Europe.
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Over the past week, UEFA and its national associations have been shining a light on the grassroots game, celebrating non-professional football through a series of articles, videos and social media posts.
Supported by a cast of international ambassadors, we have worked to demonstrate the depth of feeling felt for grassroots football across the continent, not to mention its importance to the elite game and crucial place in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The lifeblood of football
“Grassroots football is the lifeblood of football. Without grassroots football, there would be no elite football,” said UEFA president, Aleksander Čeferin. “UEFA is working constantly to help national associations ensure that all grassroots football is played in safe and quality-controlled environments.
“[Grassroots football] is especially critical for young children, for their health and their education and general well-being,” continued the UEFA president, underlining football’s role in promoting social values.
“Playing football keeps them active and teaches them vital life skills, such as teamwork and respect.”
Developing the game
UEFA has a series of initiatives designed to give players of all ages and abilities the possibility of playing organised football.
An investment of €44 million over the next four years will provide national associations with the finances, tools and guidance they require to tailor their own activities in these areas, ensuring football retains its incredible popularity.
Super Cup, super coach
Of course, it was a busy week in the professional game too, with the UEFA Super Cup taking place between Bayern and Sevilla in Budapest.
As part of Grassroots Week, we heard from the man who booked Bayern's place in the match, UEFA Champions League final goalscorer Kingsley Coman, ahead of the showdown.
The French international told us about his first coach as a child, whom he keeps in contact with even now.
And on the subject of Budapest, we also heard about a unique grassroots tournament held in Hungary's capital last summer, with one of England's most famous non-league clubs, Corinthian-Casuals, taking the silverware.
#MyHomePitch – our favourite pictures
Over the past week, we were delighted to receive fantastic images from all over Europe and beyond, showcasing the beautiful game in all its glory – from the Scandinavian fjords to the suburbs of Paris.
Thank you to everybody – national associations, clubs, players and supporters – who tagged their pictures online using #myhomepitch. We will continue posting pictures throughout the season with images of local grassroots football and we hope you will too!
Below are just a few of our favourites...