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Over a thousand children in the Serbian village of Bavanište have been given a lasting footballing legacy following the donation of a football pitch by UEFA Champions League partner, Gazprom. The initiative is being backed by the UEFA Foundation for Children, while local charity ‘Football Friends’, a partner of StreetWorldFootball helped to identify the location.
The ‘field in a box’ pitch has been built at the Bora Radić primary school in Bavanište, which is around 40 kilometres east of the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Football Friends will be responsible for maintaining the pitch, while they will also coordinate training sessions to ensure the local children get the best possible footballing education.
“We welcome Gazprom’s move to join the football for good movement, together we look forward to improving the lives of children and to empower them through football,” said the UEFA president and chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, Aleksander Čeferin. “Today more than ever, it is important, with this sanitarian crisis, to allow school children to take regular physical activity, and to bring back hope and a positive spirit.”
As part of the handover, an exhibition match took place on the new pitch, which saw mixed teams of boys and girls participating in the ‘Football Friends’ league.
“Gazprom stands for promoting youth sports and a healthy lifestyle,” said Aleksey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom management committee. “We believe in importance of children’s football development and hope that support of the Field in a Box project will give the opportunity to more youngsters to become a part of football community.”
Launched in 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children uses football as a springboard to empower children around the world. This is achieved by setting up sporting and educational projects to give children a safe place to learn and play, which ultimately improves their prospects.
During this time, the organisation has supported 275 projects in 109 countries across six continents. This has benefited almost 1.2 million children, while an impressive 32 football pitches have been built across the globe with the help of the UEFA Foundation.