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Grassroots game in focus at Madrid conference

Europe's grassroots football community comes together in Madrid this week to celebrate recent achievements and discuss further ways to keep developing the game.


The conference presents an opportunity for UEFA to reconnect with the national association grassroots community in person after the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Madrid event the first physical meeting since the previous conference in 2019.

Two areas of particular focus in 2022 are the development of grassroots clubs and how to use flexible formats to create the best playing environments for everyone who wants to take part in the game.

Frank Ludolph, UEFA head of technical development:

"It is wonderful to have the whole UEFA Grassroots family again together in such an important face-to-face gathering, in particular in the aftermath of what all our national associations had to go through due to the impact of the pandemic.

"We are together building on where we are coming from, but with fresh impetus. And the roll-out of the new Grassroots Charter criteria is crucial in this context and will be of great benefit of the associations."

During a busy week of panel discussions, workshops and presentations, participants from all 55 UEFA member associations, as well as FIFA and UEFA's fellow continental confederations, will also receive expert updates and best practice examples on all areas of the grassroots game, including:

- UEFA's grassroots charter and frameworks
- UEFA Women's EURO legacy programme
- Strategic development
- Futsal
- Disability football
- UEFA Playmakers programme

How does UEFA define grassroots football?

Grassroots football accounts for all football that is non-professional and non-elite. This includes, but is not limited to, children's football, schools and youth football, amateur football, football for disabled players, football for veterans and walking football. In short, grassroots football is football played by the masses at a level where participation and a love of the game are the principle driving forces. It lies at the very centre of UEFA's vision: making our sport the most played, trusted, engaging and responsible sport in Europe.

The benefits of grassroots football are countless, both on and off the pitch. It brings communities together, promotes healthier lifestyles and teaches positive values. Above all, it takes the game to everyone, regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or other characteristics.

UEFA.com will bring updates from throughout the conference, with more content to follow during the official UEFA Grassroots Week, which runs alongside the European Week of Sport from 22-30 September.

UEFA's 2021/22 Grassroots Awards