Some 400 schoolchildren from all over Malta took part in fun-based activities on UEFA Grassroots Day in the company of Malta Football Association coaches and national team players.
While the epicentre of UEFA Grassroots Day on 25 May was Hyde Park in London, the Malta Football Association (MFA), like many of UEFA's 53 member associations, staged its own grassroots festival with participation and fun for all central to activities held under the slogan 'I love football'.
The MFA organised an open football festival for schoolchildren at its training grounds in Ta' Qali. In total, around 400 youngsters took part in the activities, undertaken in an educational yet enjoyable environment, with MFA coaches and national team players involved. Malta's sister island Gozo hosted a similar event for its schoolchildren, with all participants in either territory receiving a UEFA grassroots T-shirt as a memento.
"Our main objective was to give our kids the chance to play football on the same turf where our national teams train and where great players from sides such as AC Milan, Juventus and FC Bayern Munich have trained in the past," MFA technical director Robert Gatt told UEFA.com.
"The youngsters enjoyed themselves, had fun and made friends and I am sure they left our training grounds with more affection towards the game of football. Our national team players also played their part by interacting with the kids who enjoyed playing with them and trying to score against Malta's goalkeeper."
"UEFA Grassroots Day is a great day where, across Europe, the FAs unite to remind everyone about the importance of grassroots," added MFA deputy general secretary Maria Mifsud. "The Malta FA, with UEFA's support, was able to open its doors to children across the islands and it was simply fantastic seeing all these children enjoying themselves. Our coaches and volunteers enjoyed themselves no less and are already looking forward to being involved in another such event."
The MFA is a big supporter of youth football in the grassroots, while the Youth Football Association, which operates within the MFA, is also fully dedicated to promoting football at this level – organising festivals and competitions in a fun, non-competitive environment.