UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Small kids, big numbers

Record participation levels have been set for the OTP Bank Bozsik programme for children and nursery schools, organised by the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) grassroots department.

The OTP Bank Bozsik programme in Hungary has been a resounding success
The OTP Bank Bozsik programme in Hungary has been a resounding success ©MLSZ

The OTP Bank Bozsik programme has set a participation record in the pre-school age group this season.

A total of 30,574 children aged three to six and around 1,500 nursery schools have been involved in the initiative, which is organised and overseen by the grassroots department of the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ). Its aim is to increase the popularity of football among children and to identify and nurture young talents.

Five years ago, 8,986 children from 339 nursery schools took part in football-themed events and festivals, but participation has grown in spectacular fashion since then, particularly in the last year and a half. Since September 2015, as many as 500 new nursery schools and 10,000 young children have taken part. The programme has reached 8,602 new children from 410 nursery schools in 23 cities outside of the capital, as well as 3,299 young children from 188 establishments in Budapest.

Within the programme, nursery schools agree to hold a football session with a minimum of ten participants at least once a week. There are no winners or losers: the primary aim – in accordance with UEFA’s grassroots strategy – is to give the children the opportunity to enjoy themselves, to do some physical activity and sport, and to develop a love for football.

The MLSZ provides each participating educational establishment with a publication that includes tasks and exercises to improve children’s skills. In addition, the adults running the sessions can participate in a free voluntary 16-hour training course and have the opportunity to gain their grassroots level C coaching qualification.

This article orginally appeared in UEFA Direct No165