Hundreds of children from across London came together in Hyde Park today to celebrate grassroots football as part of UEFA Grassroots Day.
Teams from schools across the capital took part in mini-soccer competitions at UEFA’s Champions Festival, a week-long event marking the build up to Saturday’s Champions League Final.
Now in its second year, UEFA’s Grassroots Day is a day of football events taking place across Europe to celebrate the grassroots game.
The children were joined by Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s Director of Football Development, ex-Scotland international John Collins and UEFA’s Technical Director, Andy Roxburgh.
Roxburgh told Club Website: “It’s a day of recognition and celebration of grassroots football. We’ve got activities running not just here London where the final is on Saturday, but across Europe.
“Here in England for example, there are 100 venues holding events and we’re also doing events in the four cities that have won the European Cup: Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
“In Germany where they have built 1,000 of those mini-pitches across the country, they are using them today at a grassroots event.
“There’s a similar thing happening in Norway and even in places like Azerbaijan. Dotted all over Europe at the moment, I would say the majority of our federations are fully engaged.
“A lot of them joined last year, more joined this year and we’ll end up with them all doing it, I’m sure. On Grassroots Day, they help us to celebrate the game in their country.
“What we’re trying to show is that football is not just about the Champions League and the top pros, but it’s about the grassroots game, women’s football, it’s about everything, so we get this package all in the one week.”
The free week-long festival, located in Speakers Corner in the north east of Hyde Park, contains a Champions League museum and a cinema showing the history of the European Cup.
It also gives fans the chance to have their photo taken with the Champions League trophy, watch or play football on two mini-pitches or take part in various football-related games.
Sir Trevor Brooking said: “It’s a fantastic venue and an opportunity for football people to have a look around and try out different things. I’m sure by Saturday it will be heaving in the build-up to the game.
“It’s an opportunity for us [the FA] to work with UEFA. They are very complimentary about our grassroots schemes and it’s a chance for us to be part of the build-up.
“We sense the anticipation of what we hope will be a classic game.”
To find out more visit the UEFA.com Champions League Festival website.