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A EURO challenge for Europe's children

Children across Europe are coming together to celebrate UEFA EURO 2020 by taking part in an online schools competition.

Children in Glasgow  meet the Henri Delaunay trophy
Children in Glasgow meet the Henri Delaunay trophy Jeff Holmes JSHPIX

As part of UEFA's Football in Schools (FiS) initiative, children from the 11 EURO 2020 host countries are competing in a series of challenges designed to test their skills both on the pitch and in the classroom.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of schools has impacted the rollout of the FiS programme since its launch in late 2019, however, UEFA has worked alongside the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to develop an online platform for children to measure their progress during the tournament against their counterparts all over the continent.

"Schools play a key role to give all children the important opportunity to play football in a safe and quality-controlled environment, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or religion," said Maxwell Scherrer, UEFA chief of football development.

"As part of our UEFA EURO 2020 celebrations, we wanted to give schoolchildren all over Europe the opportunity to feel part of the competition by organising a tournament involving our host cities. Due to the pandemic, we had to adapt the format to create an online experience, and with the help of the FIGC, we are delighted to have been able to deliver an interactive digital platform to allow more than 100 schools the opportunity to take part in this brilliant initiative."

Vito Tisci, president of the FIGC youth and school sector, added: "We are very proud to have successfully worked alongside UEFA to develop the EURO 2020 Football in Schools programme, making it available for other national associations and allowing children all over Europe to come together despite the challenges of the pandemic."

Football in Schools launched in Slovenia in 2019
Football in Schools launched in Slovenia in 2019UEFA via Getty Images

Four challenges for Europe's children

Open to students aged 11 to 13, competition winners will be identified based on their performance across four main categories:

– Technical challenge: students have to upload a video of them performing skills as directed by a UEFA-qualified coach.

– Rap challenge: students are tasked with composing and performing a rap on the importance of teamwork in football, as in life.

– Short story: students can write a story about their own experience of the pandemic during the last year.

– Football rules quiz: a multiple-choice quiz on the Laws of the Game.

€11m will be invested in Football in Schools to get more children playing football in a safe environment
€11m will be invested in Football in Schools to get more children playing football in a safe environment©UEFA.com

Five goals of the EURO 2020 Football in Schools project

– Physical activity: provide a high-quality, safe environment for training.

– Education: promote writing skills and educational values.

– Play: create a mixed competition and innovative game format.

– Inclusion: opportunities for all students, even at home.

– Fair play: teach respect through footballing rules.

More about Football in Schools

The Football in Schools programme was launched by UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin in his home city of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in September 2019.

Its main aims are to encourage more young players to take up the game, better training teachers to lead sessions and improving links between grassroots clubs and local schools.

The €11 million commitment, funded by the UEFA HatTrick programme, is available to all 55 UEFA member associations. The FiS initiative recognises schools as ideal partners to give all children – irrespective of ability, gender, ethnicity or religion – the opportunity to play football in a safe environment.

For up to 80% of children, physical education and school sport are the only opportunities to engage in physical activity, so schools are crucial stakeholders because they are where many children will play football for the first time. It is important that this first experience is a positive one, helping to create a lifelong habit of doing sport or physical activity and leverage the positive impact football can have on the lives of young people.

UEFA has worked closely with its national associations to develop individually tailored strategies through a series of webinars focusing on best practice and collaboration, fostering a strong network of engaged grassroots experts.