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Top to bottom: Moldova strengthens its footballing pyramid

With UEFA support, the Football Association of Moldova’s creative thinking is giving talented footballers more opportunities to play at the highest-level.

UEFA Grassroots Awards 2022 - Football in Schools (Chisinau).
UEFA Grassroots Awards 2022 - Football in Schools (Chisinau). UEFA

Building an award-winning programme to boost the numbers of children playing football in schools, the Football Association of Moldova (FMF) is taking innovative steps to ensure that talented players have multiple pathways to reach the top of the national footballing pyramid.

Under the guidance of its President Leonid Oleinicenco, the FMF has invested in new formats to provide playing high-level playing opportunities beyond the traditional 11-a-side format through mini-football, futsal and beach soccer – with significant success.

Earlier this year, Moldova claimed beach soccer’s Division B European Championship title, while its national team will play in the European qualifiers for the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup.

At the highest level of the game, the FMF has also rebranded its domestic leagues - Super League, League 1 and League 2 - to attract more spectators and sponsorship. It has also introduced new competitions to help develop elite women’s and men’s players, including the Federation Cup in 2020 for professional teams.

UEFA support for FMF development projects

Visiting UEFA headquarters in Nyon, President Oleinicenco thanked European football’s governing body for helping the FMF create a sustainable future for Moldovan football.

FMF President Leonid Oleinicenco

"(UEFA President) Mr Aleksander Ceferin has assured us of his full confidence and support for the FMF’s 2020-2024 strategy and the focus put on development projects,"

UEFA provides financial support to all 55 European national associations through its HatTrick development programme, which reinvests revenue from the EURO’s in football development projects. Strategic planning support through another UEFA programme, called Grow, ensures associations like the FMF can maximise their long-term return on HatTrick funds.

Developing football in Moldova

Football in Schools programme

At the other end of the footballing pyramid, the FMF recently won a UEFA Grassroots award for its successful implementation of the governing body’s Football in Schools programme – a Europe-wide initiative designed to give children an early opportunity to enjoy the game.

In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Research and local public authorities, the FMF programme is encouraging children to play football in kindergartens, primary schools, as well as specialised football classes.

2021/22 UEFA Grassroots Awards: Best Participation Initiative

FMF's Football in Schools programme awarded