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

20 years of the UEFA HatTrick programme: What impact has it had?

Hattrick About UEFA

2024 marks the 20th anniversary of UEFA HatTrick, our flagship development programme. With the sixth cycle set to begin following UEFA EURO 2024, we assess the impact that HatTrick has had over its first two decades.

UEFA HatTrick: Developing European football

Since its launch in 2004, UEFA HatTrick has evolved into one of global sport’s largest solidarity schemes, channelling €2.6bn into football development programmes. By reinvesting men’s EURO revenue back into the game through national association projects, it has become an important driver of UEFA’s not-for-profit mission.

This year is an important one for HatTrick, not only because it marks its 20th anniversary, but also the start of a new cycle. HatTrick VI is set to redistribute more revenue than ever, with EURO 2024 projected to generate €935m – a 21% increase on the previous edition – for investment in football development projects across Europe over the next four years.

"While there is no single secret ingredient behind HatTrick’s success, several pivotal factors contribute to its effectiveness. These include partnership and collaboration, transparency and accountability, adaptability and flexibility, and a global perspective."

Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president

Before every HatTrick cycle is approved, UEFA engages in months of consultation with our 55 member associations to better understand the current footballing landscape and their changing needs. By reflecting on the work we have done over the last four years, we are better able to adapt to the pace of change in European football. As HatTrick continues to go from strength to strength, it’s also important to look back on the last 20 years as a whole and the impact the programme has had on football across Europe.

One of the most significant ways in which HatTrick has transformed the European football landscape is through investment in infrastructure. By helping member associations build new facilities and modernise existing ones, HatTrick has helped to level the playing field and strengthen the footballing pyramid across the continent.

At the very top level, HatTrick funding has contributed to the construction or development of 35 national stadiums, meaning more than 60% of national football grounds in Europe have been built or modernised thanks to the programme. This includes improvements in player and spectator safety, as well as improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

Albania's national stadium was built using HatTrick investment and hosted the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League final in 2022
Albania's national stadium was built using HatTrick investment and hosted the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League final in 2022UEFA via Getty Images

To complement these stadiums, HatTrick investment has also helped construct 34 national training centres. The most recent of these can be found in Georgia, where HatTrick funding contributed to the construction of five national training centres in the build-up to the European Under-21 Championship finals, co-hosted with Romania in the summer of 2023. "The legacy of the tournament will be invaluable for Georgian football," says Levan Kobiashvili, president of the Georgian Football Federation. "The newly built and renovated high-quality training and playing facilities are already serving to develop the domestic game."

Looking further down the pyramid, HatTrick has funded thousands of playing pitches across the continent, ensuring everyone is given the chance to play football, regardless of where they live. More than 1,000 full-size and 3,000 mini pitches have been constructed with HatTrick funding since 2004, an average of more than 70 pitches per member association.

Infrastructure is obviously an important aspect of HatTrick’s impact, but the scheme also recognises that we need to invest in the action on the pitch, not just the pitch itself. Over its 20 years of existence, HatTrick has funded more than 700 women’s football development programmes, with nearly 60% of those projects creating new opportunities for women and girls to get into football. Our investment in women’s football has jumped by 50% since 2019, and HatTrick has played an important part in that increase.

More than 400 elite youth football projects have also been funded by HatTrick, helping associations develop talent pathways and raise the standards of youth coaching, while giving players the opportunity to compete at a higher level earlier in their careers. The Football in Schools programme, meanwhile, has reached 2.4 million children in more than 44,000 schools, with 100,000 teachers given training to deliver football training sessions.

Legends meet children at Football in Schools event in Cyprus

Armen Melikbekyan, president of the Football Federation of Armenia, has seen first-hand the impact of HatTrick’s development work. "The programme goes beyond financial aid," he says. "For me, supporting football development at all levels across Europe helps to foster a deeper connection between communities and the game. It promotes a sense of unity that strengthens all of our society."

Away from the pitch, HatTrick has funded more than 500 social and environmental projects, helping us leverage football’s influence as a wider force for good. As part of our efforts to tackle football’s climate impact, recent HatTrick-funded schemes have addressed waste reduction, renewable energy transition, sustainable construction, and public transport uptake, among many others. Socially, HatTrick has funded projects aimed at eliminating discrimination, improving mental health, supporting refugees, safeguarding children, and many more.

When HatTrick was launched in 2004, few would have foreseen the depth and breadth of its impact on the European football landscape over the next 20 years. Reflecting on the scheme’s success, Karl-Erik Nilsson, chair of the HatTrick Committee, says: "I am proud to witness with my own eyes the results of our decisions and the excellent work done by our members to further the game."

As we now approach the programme's third decade and the start of HatTrick VI, the exciting thing is that there's a lot more to come. EURO 2024 in Germany is projected to generate €935m – more than a third of HatTrick’s total investment so far – to be channelled back into European football over the next four years, with each of our 55 member associations receiving up to €17m to develop the game in their countries. The sixth cycle of HatTrick will undoubtedly be bigger and better than ever, and with it, so will football.

Selected for you