The development of women's football is a key priority for the Football Association of Montenegro where the number of registered players has grown by almost 400% in ten months.
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The Football Association of Montenegro (FSCG) continues to make large strides with two key areas to the future of the sport in the country – women's football development and grassroots – earning particular emphasis.
The number of registered active women's clubs in Montenegro is rising all the time, doubling from five in February 2011 to ten in February 2012, with all regions of the country now covered and four times as many players involved in the game.
"On final analysis, I can say that we have had the best results in this segment of our grassroots programme," said FSCG head of grassroots, Zoran Mijović. "At the moment we have more than 220 registered women players who have training sessions at their clubs a minimum of three times a week. This is almost 400% more active players than ten months ago."
Montenegro will be involved in the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship for the first time when the 2012/13 edition of the competition begins in October. They travel to the Netherlands for their first qualifying round mini-tournament, while the debut official international matches for the nation's senior women's team are scheduled to take place in February and March.
Both the senior and U17 teams will take part in a six-day training camp involving 44 players, starting on Friday in Bar. Former UEFA vice-president Per Ravn Omdal, now a grassroots ambassador for European football's governing body, and UEFA women's football development coordinator Emily Shaw are scheduled to be guests for two days of the camp.
The FSCG, which had its status as new members of the UEFA Grassroots Charter ratified in June 2011, also continues the rapid development of its grassroots programme with the formation of a new league system involving the majority of youth clubs and schools in Montenegro.
The Djetić League involves children aged between six and 11 and is the biggest grassroots competition the country has ever organised with more than 3000 youngsters taking part in matches every week. The league is split into three regional areas based in Bijelo Polje in the north, Podgorica and Niksic in central Montenegro and Bar in the south, with further age divisions set up within each of these.
Overall, 124 teams are taking part in the competition which is planned to culminate in June with a final tournament in Podgorica for the regional winners in every category from across the country. The FSCG has helped to fund the competition by investing in equipment including match balls, while also sharing costs with the clubs involved for referees, delegates and pitch fees. Local governments have also helped with the costs of some of the pitches.