England, Germany, Poland, Norway and Scotland are the gold winners in the 2019 UEFA Grassroots Awards.
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England, Germany, Poland, Norway and Scotland have won the gold prizes in the 2019 UEFA Grassroots Awards, which reward leaders, clubs and projects in Europe for excellence in the crucial grassroots football sector.
All UEFA member associations were invited to submit proposals, and 143 applications were received. The award winners were announced to mark UEFA Grassroots Week, during which activities have been taking place across Europe, with the aim of encouraging and inspiring participation in all forms of football.
The number of prestigious UEFA Grassroots Awards has increased this year from three to five – Best Disability Initiative and Best Professional Football Club have been added to the list of honours.
Fatima Hussein (England); "Kick off for a new life" (Germany); Alternative Sports Club ZŁY (Poland); Star League (Norway) and Aberdeen FC (Scotland) have won the respective gold awards in five categories – Best Grassroots Leader, Best Grassroots Project, Best Grassroots Club, Best Disability Initiative and Best Professional Football Club.
The golden winners were all presented with their awards by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin at the House of European Football in Nyon.
Silver and bronze awards have gone to other deserving candidates.
The UEFA Grassroots Week takes place in conjunction with the European Week of Sport and in cooperation with the European Commission.
UEFA considers the grassroots as vital in helping football maintain its overall good health. Football is built on the grassroots, which are kept alive by thousands of volunteers, projects and clubs across Europe. UEFA's awards are designed to recognise, celebrate and promote this inspirational work.
"A vibrant Grassroots sector is vital to the wellbeing of the sport," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
"I want to ensure that UEFA continues to work closely with all our member associations to enable everyone to have the opportunity to play and enjoy the sport which we love. The slogan 'Football First' is at the core of UEFA's strategy for the coming years – and without healthy grassroots, the game cannot flourish."
2019 UEFA Grassroots Awards winners:
Best Grassroots Leader
Gold – Fatima Hussein (England)
Fatima, a young Muslim, has chosen to use football as a vehicle to improve and develop her own life and to help improve her community in northwest London through her volunteering and coaching. As a qualified coach and referee, she is involved in all aspects of football in her school and local community, coaching young children and refereeing senior women's matches.
The silver award has been won by Gary McLaughlin (Scotland), for his involvement in the organisation and coordination of walking football in Scotland. Tomasz Wilman (Poland) is the bronze award winner for his devoted work to helping educate disabled children.
Best Grassroots Project
Gold: "Kick off for a new life" (Germany)
This social rehabilitation project uses football as a catalyst to prepare inmates for release, help them find employment and reduce re-offending by offering football, education and social integration modules. Together with a close network of partners, the DFB's Sepp Herberger Foundation, which runs the project, works in 22 prisons across Germany.
Tears of the King (Latvia) wins the silver award for an initiative which helps parents of young footballers evaluate their behaviour in the football environment. Bronze goes to Ladies Football Club Bijeljina (Bosnia and Herzegovina), a project which promotes the social skills and social integration of children from marginalised groups.
Best Grassroots Club
Gold: Alternative Sports Club ZŁY (Poland)
This sports club in the Polish capital Warsaw was created by fans and is entirely and directly managed by supporters, athletes and coaches. The club, located in the Praga district of Warsaw, runs men's and women's teams, organises free football classes for refugees, and also focuses on the inclusion of disabled players.
SV Donau Klagenfurt (Austria) are the silver award winners – a club of mostly migrant players which works with the main goal of promoting integration and inclusion through football. The bronze award has been won by FC Elva (Estonia), a club that uses sport to foster community spirit and healthy lifestyles in the town of Elva.
Best Disability Initiative
Gold: Star League (Norway)
The Star League is a series of bimonthly league competitions for players with disabilities, organised by the Football Association of Norway in the Hordaland region. NFF Hordaland encourages participation regardless of ability or gender.
'Un gol per l’inclusione', UPD Isolotto (Italy) wins the silver award for a project which aims to develop the integration within football of disabled children. Bronze goes to Glentoran Disability FC (Northern Ireland), a club which has benefited the community by organising football for male and female players with disabilities.
Best Professional Football Club
Gold: Aberdeen FC (Scotland)
The relationship between the Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) and the Scottish Football Association is a model of best practice nationally. The Scottish Premiership club engages with more than 20,000 people in projects focusing on three main themes: football for life, education and healthy communities.
FC Internazionale Milano (Italy) wins the silver award for its grassroots work, in particular its project aimed at teaching values to schoolchildren through football. Bronze goes to Cardiff City FC Community Foundation (Wales) for its strategy of using the appeal of football to inspire children, young people and families to achieve their full potential.
How the UEFA Grassroots Award winners are selected
The UEFA Grassroots Awards have been run annually since 2010. The awards reward excellence in the grassroots field, and national associations from around Europe are invited to put forward candidates each year. UEFA's Executive Committee ratifies the awards following recommendations made by the UEFA Grassroots Panel bureau and UEFA Development and Technical Assistance Committee.