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This week the fourth UEFA Grassroots Day will celebrate the importance of grassroots football with activities planned throughout UEFA's member association countries as well as at the UEFA Champions Festival in London.
An annual celebration, UEFA Grassroots Day was created by European football's governing body to emphasise its commitment to the foundations of the game, while, in the week of the UEFA Champions League final, relaying the important message that top-level professional football cannot flourish without a healthy grassroots.
"Grassroots Day has taken place on the Wednesday of UEFA Champions League final week since 2010," explained UEFA chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu. "All our member associations are asked to promote the grassroots game, underlining the importance of the provision of football for everyone, not just the elite."
The centre point of the activities will be The International Quarter, close to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London, where the UEFA Champions Festival will be staged from 23–26 May. There, youngsters will have the chance to participate in a variety of skills clinics and training sessions with professional coaches.
On Thursday, to coincide with women's football day at the festival, girls' teams will get the opportunity to play with England women's internationals and UEFA ambassadors, while futsal day on Friday includes a futsal grassroots tournament for Under-12 and U16 boys and girls as well as coaching sessions with leading futsal player Ricardinho.
Also at the festival, visitors will be able to enjoy a grassroots football-themed version of the popular game Top Trumps. The game includes 53 cards – one for each UEFA member association – featuring elite and grassroots facts about each nation.
Meanwhile, tomorrow a maxi-pitch will be donated to the city of London by UEFA. Located in the area of Pimlico, the pitch will be inaugurated by UEFA Champions League final ambassador Steve McManaman and ensure that a local legacy is left for years to come, enabling youngsters to play football in a safe and easily accessible environment.
Away from London, a host of activities will be undertaken throughout the week across Europe in conjunction with UEFA Grassroots Day, including a national disability school festival in Wales and a series of futsal and football festivals for U7s and U9s in Portugal. More details can be found in a grassroots calendar in the UEFA Training Ground section of UEFA.com.
UEFA Grassroots Day follows the presentation of the UEFA Grassroots Day Awards in Oslo last month, where the best grassroots leaders, projects and clubs were given special recognition for their efforts in the grassroots sector.
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