Albania and Portugal have been ratified as new members of the UEFA Grassroots Charter at basic level while eight other FAs have achieved further recognition for their work.
UEFA's Executive Committee has approved the admission of two more European national football associations to the UEFA Grassroots Charter, and ratified the upgrading of other associations within the charter as they expand their grassroots activities. The committee gave its approval at its meeting in Minsk, Belarus.
Albania – who signed the charter in a ceremony at UEFA headquarters – and Portugal have been ratified as new members at basic level, while the following FAs, members at the advanced level, have been adding other elements to their work in this vital area of the game: Slovenia now have two-star membership; Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Malta and Turkey three-star membership; Andorra four-star membership; and Armenia and Republic of Ireland five-star membership.
A total of 49 associations are now members of the UEFA Grassroots Charter. The charter was set up in 2004, and represents an endorsement of national associations' grassroots projects. UEFA motivates and backs the associations in consolidating such programmes, and the charter encourages a dynamic approach whereby associations are constantly urged to develop their work in this sector.
UEFA firmly believes that if the game does not provide healthy foundations, the flourishing of football's elite level would be much more difficult to achieve.
Signing the charter means that an association satisfies certain minimum criteria. Associations enter with basic one-star status (foundation level), 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 (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.
Meanwhile, UEFA took advantage of its visit to Belarus on 3 and 4 October to present the UEFA Grassroots Award for the best grassroots club to Amatar. The awards were announced to mark the inaugural UEFA Grassroots Day in May. UEFA has been sending footballs and other prizes to the winners for their achievements.