The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) is launching an ambitious project that includes the construction of hundreds of mini-pitches throughout the country. The FPF plans to build at least one pitch in each Portuguese municipality by November 2006.
The project represents an investment that could surpass €3m, and involves the support of UEFA's HatTrick assistance programme. "With this project, the FPF intends to increase sports activities all over the country, offering young people an alternative and healthy way to fill their free time. We also intend to build the pitches near schools or populated areas so that they can be utilised more often," said Ângelo Brou, FPF vice-president.
Free for all
The FPF is hoping for support from regional football associations, parents' bodies and other national entities in order to promote grassroots and street football through the development of proper facilities, with free entrance for all.
Advice from Norway
Besides football, the mini-pitches will be used for basketball and handball. The FPF has also taken advice from UEFA Executive Committee vice-president Per Ravn Omdal of Norway, who has widespread experience in mini-pitches. The first pitch was laid down in the borough of Santa Maria de Belém, in the eastern area of Lisbon, last year.
UEFA is promoting the installation of mini-pitches to encourage youngsters to play football, especially in urban areas. The HatTrick scheme was launched in August 2003 and will continue until 2008. Its objective is to assist UEFA's member associations with the funding of projects designed to develop and improve their footballing infrastructures.
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