UEFA's mission as the parent body of European football includes helping to cultivate the game's grassroots – the foundation on which elite football can thrive.
UEFA has been reinforcing its grassroots activities in recent times, spreading its message across Europe to include sectors such as football for the disabled. Children are also being targeted in the campaign to show the joy of football.
UEFA is responsible for a variety of grassroots activities – which include staging workshops and producing a regular Grassroots Football newsletter.
The most recent workshop took place in April 2013 in Oslo, Norway.
Football is not a sport for the elite. It is available for everyone, irrespective of size, shape, colour or faith. It is a real sporting democracy which offers educational values, health benefits, social opportunities and sporting worth. The game is a wonderful vehicle for personal and sporting development. At the base of the football pyramid, grassroots football benefits all levels of the game.
In 2004, UEFA created a Grassroots Charter with the aim of supporting the grassroots activities of its member associations – these include nurturing women's and girls' football, and developing social programmes such as disability football.
By early 2013, 53 European football associations were members of the charter.
As a sign of its commitment to encouraging football for all, the European governing body staged the inaugural UEFA Grassroots Day on Wednesday 19 May 2010, which formed part of the build-up to the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League final. The second UEFA Grassroots Day took place on 25 May 2011, ahead of the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League final in London, and the third Grassroots Day followed on 16 May 2012 before the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League final in Munich. The fourth Grassroots Day took place in London - the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League final venue - and across Europe on 22 May 2013.
UEFA president Michel Platini spoke about the importance of grassroots football when citing it as one of UEFA's 11 key values at the UEFA Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark in March 2009.
Mr Platini said: "Football is based on the grassroots, played everywhere by men and women, boys and girls. The top professional level is just the tip of the iceberg. UEFA will continue with, and even strengthen solidarity, both to protect the future of football and to deliver the wider benefits that our sport brings to society as a whole. And it is also because the strength of football lies in its grassroots that we have to preserve the local, regional and national identities of our game, always in accordance with the law."
• UEFA recognises the need to ensure the game's grassroots remain healthy as they provide the platform for football at its elite level.
• Football should be available for all and can serve as a significant tool for personal development.
• UEFA's Grassroots Charter encourages its member associations in their work at the lower levels of the game.
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