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Busy UEFA Grassroots Week promotes sport for all

A maxi-pitch handover event in Prague was one of many activities marking UEFA Grassroots Week, which now dovetails nicely with the European Week of Sport.

Busy UEFA Grassroots Week promotes sport for all
Busy UEFA Grassroots Week promotes sport for all ©Jan Tauber

Local primary school pupils were the first to enjoy playing on the brand-new maxi-pitch donated by UEFA that was opened in the Prague suburb of Suchdol on Friday morning. The inauguration ceremony was one of many UEFA Grassroots Week events taking place throughout Europe during this European Week of Sport.

UEFA spoke to those helping to launch the new facility in the Czech capital:

Alexandra Kejharová, local school headmistress
"A few months ago this place was a car park and storage place, so this is a miraculous change. The maxi-pitch will be a great attraction for our pupils and will tremendously improve our possibilities of playing sport."

Frank Ludolph, UEFA head of football education services
"UEFA acknowledges the importance of grassroots football and its impact at the top of the professional game. This is why we have, among many other projects, been donating maxi-pitches as a legacy for all UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League final host cities since 2010, as part of our extensive Grassroots Programme.

"And since last year, we have aligned our UEFA Grassroots Week with the European Commission's European Week of Sport. In this context, we decided to donate a maxi-pitch to Brussels last year, as the European 'capital'. Prague was chosen for 2016, given that it is this year's capital of sport, and it was fantastic to see all the smiles on the children's faces. This will be continued in the future."

Rudolf Řepka, Football Association of the Czech Republic (FAČR) general secretary
"We are standing on this brilliant new pitch that is now going to be used not only by local footballers, but mainly by kids from the school and neighbourhood. All credit to UEFA for caring about grassroots football in order to bring boys and girls into the game."

The Prague handover is just one of numerous similar activities arranged throughout Europe within the UEFA Grassroots Week and the European Week of Sport, which started on 10 September. These are aimed at all age categories and promote football and sporting activities for everybody.

Among the many varied initiatives, a futsal marathon featuring more than 300 participants was run in Minsk, Belarus; a football event involving Syrian families has been organised in the west of Scotland together with a football festival for more than 1,000 players aged 6 to 12; a special champions festival was staged for children with Down's syndrome in Bucharest; and football tournaments for boys and girls have been held in Armenia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden and other countries.