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Grassroots fotbal: What is it and what are its principles

15 May 2024

What is grassroots football and what are its goals

Football is not just about professional competitions, victories, and loud crowds of fans. Grassroots football strives for much more. It aims for socialization, a love for the sport, and the creation of communities that defy age, gender, or health differences. Grassroots football shows that everyone can find their place; all it takes is the willingness.

Read more about grassroots football and its efforts to ignite a love for the sport in children and adults, in men and women, in the able-bodied and the disabled.


What is grassroots" football?

Grassroots football is a term used to refer to the amateur or basic level of football. It is not associated with professional leagues or teams. Specifically, it encompasses children's football, school and youth football, amateur football, football for disabled players, and veterans.

The driving force here is not financial reward, but rather a love for the game and a desire to participate.

Moreover, football is not just about the game itself, but also about teamwork, social development, health, fitness, and personal fulfillment.

UEFA invests in grassroots football to ensure the opportunity to participate in this team sport is available to everyone regardless of age, abilities, ethnic background, race, religion, or sexual identity.


The significance of grassroots football

  • Grassroots football helps develop local talents by supporting and enhancing players' skills without excessive pressure.
  • It promotes diversity and inclusion, thereby reducing discrimination, sexism, and racism.
  • Players not only learn the technical skills of football but also teamwork and communication.
  • Grassroots provides enjoyable recreation, reduces stress, and contributes to maintaining fitness.

The basic principles of grassroots football

To fulfill its purpose, grassroots football must provide opportunities for everyone to play. Anyone who wants to get involved in football should have the chance, whether they live in a village or a city.

Other principles include combating discrimination, ensuring the safety of players, coaches, and parents, and creating a fun, exciting game.

Fairness and a positive attitude are key principles of grassroots football. It should always teach young and older people alike to respect and be kind to others.

Grassroots football should also make positive contributions to local communities, build a sporting culture in the area, and bring together children, parents, coaches, and officials to support the social structure.

What is the task of a grassroots football coach

The grassroots football coach operates in many ways. Apart from teaching skills and developing players, they must educate and instruct their players on proper behavior. At the same time, they become their confidant and support when needed.

The coach's duties can range from explaining tactics and demonstrating skills to organizing players and assessing their abilities. The coach should lead by example and become a role model for all their followers.

UEFA a grassroots football


UEFA supports national associations in setting the philosophy that ensures the future of the game.

Additionally, each national association receives designated financial resources annually to ensure continuous development and improvement of grassroots football activities.

Every year during the European Week of Sport, UEFA organizes the Grassroots Week, aiming to promote and inspire participation in all forms of football by providing access to pitches and a significant amount of football equipment.

In 2020, UEFA invested €44 million over the next four years in the development of grassroots football. These financial resources provide opportunities for players of all ages and abilities to play the game in a fun and safe environment.



UEFA Grassroots Charter

UEFA Grassroots Charter establishes standards for associations providing grassroots football programs. Below are six important initiatives helping to develop the game across Europe and ensuring the popularity of football worldwide.

       1. Football in Schools (FiS)

The goal of the FiS initiative is to provide children with the opportunity to play football in a safe environment, increase children's interest in physical activity, and ensure that their first experience with football is positive and contributes to the formation of a lifelong habit of sports participation. Efforts also include better training for teachers and linking clubs with local schools.

       2. Development of grassroots football clubs

Local football clubs form the foundation of communities and provide a place where everyone comes together to achieve a specific goal.

UEFA has set up working groups for the development of grassroots clubs to help national associations support non-elite clubs in their development. The group consists of club development experts and aims to provide guidance to national associations in creating their own visions based on quality coaching, strong leadership, and player development.

       3. Together #WePlayStrong The Together #WePlayStrong

Campaign, launched in 2017, aims to transform the perception of women's football and encourage girls to get involved in the game. Through collaboration with celebrities, content campaigns on topics such as activism, travel, and human interest stories, the campaign seeks to promote the skill and culture of women's football at the highest level and increase visibility of role models for young girls to emulate.

      4. Disney Playmakers The Playmakers program was inspired by academic research showing the positive role of storytelling in helping children enter the world of sports.

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, the Playmakers program was adapted to allow children to remain active at home. Parents were allowed to download materials exploring each main character from the films through reading, playing, creating, and storytelling.

       5. Coach Education

The organization's goal is to improve the quality of coaching education in all 55 member associations. The aim is to recruit better coaches and, ultimately, players and to increase the overall quality of the game – whether in grassroots football or at the elite level. Part of the vision is to develop new strategies for coach education.

Coaches will be introduced to methodology suitable for a given age group of players and content tailored for children/players of the modern age during training. This will help them create a motivational environment for players of all abilities to play, develop, and enjoy the game.

      6. Protection

Following an extensive consultation process with the 55 member associations of European football, UEFA has launched a new policy and tools for child protection, aimed at the effective implementation of child protection within the organization.

Child workers are to create a safe environment using a set of tools with guides, information, and templates to support member associations in their efforts to protect children.


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