UEFA's support of the San Marino Football Federation (FSGC) through the successful HatTrick scheme has borne more fruit with the opening of five full-size artificial pitches in Serravalle.
FSGC president Giorgio Crescentini was joined by his counterpart from the neighbouring Italian Football Federation, Giancarlo Abete, in an opening ceremony in the hill-top republic. The inauguration of the artificial pitches, which have been partly funded by UEFA, follows the unveiling one year ago of the FSGC's new Casa del Calcio – San Marino's footballing HQ – and the Montecchio Stadium, both built with financial support from European football's governing body.
The classic artificial pitches replace established grass ones, and Giorgio Crescentini described their opening as "another important moment in the sporting movement in San Marino". Given San Marino's rugged terrain and situation in the Apennine Mountains, the pitches will help "solve the problems that were preventing us from having an adequate infrastructure", the FSGC president continued, "caused by our climate and geography". "We have achieved our objective," he added.
The pitches will be used, among other purposes, by San Marinese clubs competing in the national league, the Campionato. The opening ceremony took place last month in the week after San Marino's concluding FIFA World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at the Stadio Olimpico Serravalle – a surface that benefits from the latest technology in combining artificial turf with natural grass.
UEFA's HatTrick scheme aims to put revenue from the major European competitions back into the game at a grassroots level or for the benefit of the sport's roots across the continent. This financial assistance is, for example, helping to improve infrastructures in areas such as the construction of stadiums, training centres and national association headquarters.
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