The importance of grassroots football will be celebrated on Wednesday as UEFA and its member national associations join forces to mark the third UEFA Grassroots Day.
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 messages that elite football cannot flourish without a healthy grassroots and that the game is open to everyone.
"UEFA's executive committee introduced the concept of a Grassroots Day in 2010," explained UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh. "Strategically placed on the Wednesday prior to the UEFA Champions League final, this promotional tool provides an opportunity for the celebration and recognition of the grassroots game throughout Europe. As I have often stated: no grassroots = no players = no future."
The main focal point of activities scheduled to take place Europe-wide will be in Munich as part of the UEFA Champions Festival. In conjunction with the German Football Association (DFB), UEFA has organised a number of grassroots activities which will take place at the Olympiapark, including a mini Champions League tournament for schools and special skills clinics with star players of the past.
Also in Munich youngsters will have the opportunity to play a grassroots football-themed version of the popular game, Top Trumps. The game includes 53 cards – one for each UEFA member association – featuring facts about each nation such as its record male international caps winner and the number of female players registered. Copies of the game will be sent to all associations to distribute, while an online version of the game is available in the UEFA Training Ground section of UEFA.com.
The website also features a grassroots calendar, including details of events which have been organised to celebrate UEFA Grassroots Day across Europe. Growing every year, UEFA is hopeful that even more national associations will participate this week, using the opportunity to promote their own grassroots programmes. To aid them, UEFA has provided each association with T-shirts and footballs, while video coverage on the website will highlight some of the best activities to take place.
Wednesday will also mark the announcement of the winners of the UEFA Grassroots Awards, with special recognition being given for the best grassroots leaders, projects and clubs, as nominated by the associations and decided upon by UEFA's Executive Committee following recommendations from the UEFA Grassroots Panel.
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