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

Danish scheme for seniors takes UEFA Grassroots award

Members About UEFA Grassroots

A training programme for players aged 60 and above is the 2022/23 UEFA Grassroots Award winner for the Best Social Initiative.

UEFA Grassroots Awards 2022/23: Best Social Initiative

The Danish Football Association's Football Fitness Training Camp uses football as "medicine" to help improve the health and well-being of senior citizens, promoting physical health and friendship through a modified form of the game.

The programme, which plans a huge expansion in 2023 for up to 500 players, provided 57 recreational players, featuring an average age of 72 and 42 women compared to 15 men, with a four-day football fitness camp on the island of Bornholm.

Consisting of two 75-minute training sessions, complete with injury-prevention warm-ups, the camp also offered education sessions on the principles behind football fitness and a barbecue for participants, where they strengthened their links and shared experiences from life in and out of the game.

In an interview with Danish TV, 84-yr-old Grete Vinter, who plays with the Danish Soccer Grannies group, said: "Football is amazing - playing football with my friends makes me so happy, I can’t say it in any other way, it makes me really happy."

Zvonimir Boban, UEFA technical director & chief of football:

"Every player we see on our screens in UEFA competitions began their journey on a local pitch with friends or family.

"The elite game relies on a strong grassroots base, and that is why it is imperative that we celebrate the lesser-known stars who are bringing the game to people of all ages and abilities across Europe.

"We look forward to announcing the winners this week and congratulate them all on their fantastic work."

Peter Krustrup, Professor of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Southern Denmark:

"Football is a very special tool because it combines health promotion with fun and camaraderie that many people can benefit from, regardless of their age, gender and social background.

"We have found a really good way to modify football in a way where the focus is on pair-based drills and strength and balance-oriented safe activities. The approach is based on training and not games to ensure that everybody is included, and it doesn’t matter whether you are skilful or whether you have a lot of experience with football previously.

"Football training is a fantastic prevention and treatment of lifestyle diseases, both related to cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases and musculoskeletal challenges. That's why we call it medicine. Sometimes we recruit patients directly from hospitals or the general practitioner - if you want them to change their life and adhere to physical activity, it is a good idea to focus on intrinsic motivation. You have to use all the joyful elements of a team sport and football allows them to meet their friends and to experience a lot of things together."

The programme promotes friendship as well as physical wellbeing
The programme promotes friendship as well as physical wellbeing UEFA via Getty Images

Best Social Initiative 2022/23: Bronze and Silver winners

Silver: Hátsó füves futballmentő túra / Backyard Goals Football Rescue Tour (Hungary)

This regional movement was launched in eastern Hungary to engage communities that had a passive relationship with football. An exhibition in the local museum of the small Hungarian town of Sátoraljaújhely presented the impressions of journalist Péter Csillag in an exploration of Hungarian village football in some 200 locations.

Bronze: Football Girls Leuven (Belgium)

Founded in 2020 as a club exclusively for girls (aged 5+) to offer support and improve accessibility, Football Girls Leuven welcomes children from different backgrounds and has grown to now have 141 members.

About the UEFA Grassroots Awards

The UEFA Grassroots Awards have been celebrating outstanding contributions and achievements in the game since 2010. Focused on football outside the elite game, the awards turn the floodlights on some of the unsung heroes and inspiring initiatives that make football such a vital part of communities throughout Europe.

Candidates are nominated by Europe's national football associations, with award winners selected by UEFA's Development and Technical Assistance committee following recommendations made by the organisation's Grassroots Panel.

Considering the Best Social Initiative, judges were seeking criteria assessing outstanding work on community football programmes with a focus on community impact by addressing issues such as equality and inclusion, health and well-being, child and youth safeguarding or the environment.

Selected for you