UEFA shines a light on the unsung local heroes of Europe’s most popular sport this week with the announcement of its 2020 Grassroots Awards.
Each year, the awards showcase the people, projects and places that ensure everyone, regardless of their age, ability, gender or background, can play football in a safe environment – the key objective of UEFA’s grassroots programme.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin will reveal the 2020 winners on Thursday, November 19 and Friday, November 20, following a special video conference meeting at which he will personally congratulate the successful nominees for each of the five award categories:
- Best Grassroots Leader
- Best Grassroots Project
- Best Grassroots Club
- Best Disability Initiative
- Best Professional Football Club
“We only reached our final choices after lots of discussion and deliberation. The strength in depth of the candidates gets stronger every year, making the winners’ achievements even more outstanding,” said Mr Ceferin.
In a special series, uefa.com will highlight the achievements of all gold, silver and bronze winners in each of the categories. Our stories will look behind the scenes to learn more about the individual projects, and in some cases how they have managed to keep making a positive impact on their local communities in the midst of a global pandemic.
“Grassroots football is crucial to the well-being of the game and society across Europe,” Mr Ceferin added. “As the achievements of the winners demonstrate, it shows how football’s universal popularity can help break stereotypes and connect communities.”
About the UEFA Grassroots Awards
The annual Grassroots Awards kicked off in 2010, with the Best Disability Initiative and Best Professional Football Club categories debuting last year. So far, UEFA has recognised 96 award winners from 36 nations.
Each of European football’s 55 national associations are invited to nominate candidates, with award winners then selected by UEFA’s Executive Committee, following recommendations made by the organisation’s Grassroots Panel bureau and Development and Technical Assistance Committee. In 2020, 129 nominations were received from 37 different associations.
Why is grassroots football important?
- Creates a solid foundation for the game
- Provides playing opportunities for all
- Promotes respect, inclusion and equality
- Serves as a vehicle for educational, sporting and social development
- Promotes lifelong participation
UEFA’s commitment to grassroots
A healthy grassroots game is crucial to the success of elite football and is central to UEFA’s strategy to ensure football is the most played, trusted, competitive and engaging sport. To that end, we will invest €44 million in grassroots football between 2020 and 2024, thanks to the HatTrick assistance programme.
Last autumn, UEFA showcased some of the fantastic work being undertaken beneath the elite level during Grassroots Week, illustrating the importance of everyone, everywhere being able to play the game in a safe and quality-controlled environment.