The associations of Austria and Russia have achieved more recognition for their activities within the framework of the UEFA Grassroots Charter, as UEFA continues to promote work in this crucial sector of the game.
Following the approval by the UEFA Executive Committee at its most recent meeting in Nyon, the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) and the Russian Football Union (RFS) have been upgraded to five-star membership of the advanced level.
A total of 49 associations are now members of the UEFA Grassroots Charter. The charter was set up in 2004, representing an endorsement of national associations' grassroots projects. UEFA supports and encourages the associations in developing their grassroots programmes.
The European body's approach to grassroots football is that healthy foundations will help football's elite level to flourish, and that the game should be open to everyone. Grassroots football is also celebrated across Europe on UEFA Grassroots Day, which takes place in the same week as the European club game's elite occasion – the UEFA Champions League final. The Grassroots Day section on UEFA.com was launched on Monday, marking 100 days until this celebration.
Signing the charter means an association satisfies certain minimum criteria. Associations enter at the foundation level (one-star status), and four additional stars are given in relation to specific grassroots areas – the nurturing of women's and girls' football, social projects including disability football, number of participants, and the promotion of grassroots football, all of which constitute the advanced level.
Superior level, i.e. six stars, indicates a highly developed programme, while the premier level, i.e. seven stars, sets the benchmark for grassroots development throughout Europe.
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