The Turkish Football Association (TFF) celebrated UEFA Grassroots Day on 19 May with a total of 7,500 children being given the chance to be involved in specially arranged activities at 47 different venues across the country.
Coinciding with a national holiday for youth and sport meant that the celebrations were given additional significance as the foundations of football were marked at 39 clubs, including the football schools of Fenerbahçe SK, Galatasaray AŞ, Beşiktaş JK and Trabzonspor AŞ. In addition, fun-based activities were organised at six TFF training centres.
Speaking on the day, TFF football development director Tolunay Kafkas underlined the importance of UEFA's support for the association's grassroots programme, which achieved five-star status in the UEFA Grassroots Charter in 2010, while outlining the TFF's primary objectives.
"We look at grassroots football in two dimensions," said Kafkas. "First, as a base to elite football and secondly as a tool for people to socialise and create healthy habits. However, our focus this year primarily is with children. With the sponsorship of Ülker, children's football has improved so much with the construction of football training centres and our football villages projects."
Since 2007, joint projects involving the TFF have provided an opportunity for children to play football, get an education and socialise, helping as many as 220,000 children to get into the sport.
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