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Football in Schools: Croatian children to team up with football legends

Ahead of UEFA's annual Grassroots Week celebrations (22-30 September 2022), a special Football in Schools festival will be held in Hvar, where the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) will invite local children to play alongside UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin and several former stars.

 Football legend Luis Figo  takes part in the grassroots school football programme  in Chisinau in 2021.
Football legend Luis Figo takes part in the grassroots school football programme in Chisinau in 2021. UEFA via Getty Images

This week, Croatian school children will be welcomed to the island of Hvar to meet and play with the UEFA president and former football and futsal stars as part of the UEFA Football in Schools development programme.

This four-year-long initiative promotes the positive impact of enrolling children in football lessons from an early age, instilling the values of the beautiful game: fair play, respect, teamwork and leadership.

UEFA ambassadors and Croatian football legends will also attend the festivities ahead of the UEFA Executive Committee meeting planned later in the afternoon in Hvar.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin meets children in Chisinau last year.
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin meets children in Chisinau last year. UEFA via Getty Images

What is the UEFA Football in Schools programme?

Football in Schools supports school football projects across Europe by giving children the opportunity to learn core values early in life, as well as encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle.

Alongside coach education and club development, the initiative is a key component of UEFA's Grassroots Football Charter. Between 2020 and 2024, European football's governing body will channel €11 million in funding to support Football in Schools initiatives – one quarter of the total €44 million dedicated to grassroots football support to national associations.

The programme is just one example of how UEFA draws on revenue from the European Championship to fund football projects across Europe using the HatTrick development project.

Football in Schools 2020–24: focus on Europe (projected numbers)

Associations investing in school football: 55
Children taking part: 2.8 million+
Schools running activities: 81,000+
Teachers trained: 63,000+
Total investment: €24m+
UEFA: €11m+
Associations: €6.5m+
Governments and other institutions: €6.5m+

Developing the game in Croatia