Norway – one of Europe's brightest national associations in the nurturing of grassroots football – will host the next UEFA Grassroots Workshop in 2013 and is proud to be welcoming the European football family to Oslo.
Grassroots football is an essential item on UEFA's portfolio of activities – it promotes the idea of football for everyone as well as the knowledge that without a healthy grassroots the elite game cannot flourish. All of today's superstars who captivate the crowds started out as grassroots footballers in their childhood.
The workshop at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo from 8 to 11 April 2013 will cover a variety of issues and talking points, bearing witness to the growing momentum of the grassroots game and the increasing recognition of its social values. Moreover, UEFA and its 53 national associations are hard at work preparing for the 2012 UEFA Grassroots Day on Wednesday 16 May – when grassroots football and the many benefits it brings will be celebrated across Europe.
"We are both proud and humbled to be announced as hosts of the next UEFA Grassroots Workshop," said the new general secretary of the Football Association of Norway (NFF), Kjetil P Siem. "For a small country like Norway, this event will be spectacular. Being selected by UEFA is an inspiration for the association and shows approval of the work we are doing in grassroots football and the importance we give it.
"We are proud to be given the opportunity to host all nations of the European family and to spend time together to develop grassroots football," he added. "We believe that our stadium is an excellent place to host this event, being both a football stadium and a conference centre."
The importance being placed on grassroots and youth development in Norway is evident from the appointment of Stig Inge Bjørnebye – winner of 76 Norway caps during a career in which he played for clubs such as Liverpool FC and Rosenborg BK – as the NFF development manager for youth and children's football. The 42-year-old was assistant coach of the Norwegian national team for three years from 2003 to 2006 and then manager of IK Start.
In addition to the discussion topics at the workshop, practical sessions will be held and a visit is planned to a local grassroots club to watch young footballers at work and being coached, and to better understand the functioning of the local grassroots structures.
Alf Hansen, grassroots director at the NFF, regards the workshop "as the most significant grassroots event in Europe. Members of the UEFA family can share experiences and learn from each other," he said. "Together with UEFA's Study Group Scheme [in which national associations exchange technical know-how], the grassroots workshop brings the nations closer to each other.
"The connections made between participants are of great importance to the development of football in the national FAs," Mr Hansen continued. "We will put in a lot of effort to make the UEFA Grassroots Workshop in 2013 an interesting event and a great experience."
"For UEFA, it is a great pleasure to bring this 10th Grassroots Workshop to the Norwegian capital," said UEFA head of football education services Frank Ludolph. "The Norwegian FA is renowned for its grassroots work. In the UEFA Grassroots Charter this federation has obtained six stars for its grassroots achievements, and new projects are currently under preparation. It will be a very valuable event for the whole of UEFA's grassroots community.
"The workshop will also be another milestone as part of UEFA's grassroots programme," he went on, "and an important moment to assess the achievements so far and to look ahead in close cooperation with our member associations."
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