Northern Ireland is the latest European national football association to receive a mini-pitch as a Jubilee gift from UEFA. The mini-pitch has been constructed under the auspices of the UEFA HatTrick assistance programme.
First of its kind
Unveiling the pitch at Mount Eagles, Dunmurry - the first of its kind in Northern Ireland - was Irish Football Association (IFA) president and chairman of the UEFA Youth and Amateur Football Committee, Jim Boyce.
The event was extremely well supported, with officials from the IFA, Sports Council for Northern Ireland, Lisburn city council and local community associations all in attendance. Each was equally delighted with this gift from UEFA and very positive about the benefits that this pitch could bring to the local community.
Ownership of the pitch was officially handed down from UEFA to the local community, who through a local child made a promise to "maintain and protect the pitch and make sure that all could use this great facility".
The IFA development manager Lee Carroll said: "Such facilities affirm UEFA's commitment to promote grassroots football throughout Europe. These mini-pitches will not only capture the imagination of children and encourage them to play football, but also provide an excellent arena for them to play in a safe and secure environment." To close the ceremony, local schoolchildren played out an enjoyable and exciting game in front of a very appreciative audience.
UEFA's HatTrick Board has decided to offer a prototype mini-pitch (21m x 13m) to each UEFA member association, as European football's governing body celebrates its Golden Jubilee. The mini-pitch in question should be installed near to the association's headquarters and possibly close to, or on the premises of, a school.
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