As part of the build-up to the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013, which takes place in Turkey between June 21–July 13, various 'Children’s Football Grassroots Activities' will be held in host cities thanks to a collaboration between FIFA and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).
The Grassroots coordinators who will be organising those events are currently participating in a FIFA Grassroots Course in the Turkish city of Antalya, which began on 4 March.
Among those in attendance at the event, which is due to run until 8 March, were FIFA officials Yvon Armel Marie Avry and Jorge Diaz Cidoncha Garcia, personnel from the TFF's Children and School Football Department, regional coaches and 8 Grassroots coordinators. The course aims to prepare participants to work with children aged 6-12 and run their training courses, and instruct the attendees in tournament organisation and event-specific tasks.
With specific regard to tournament organisation, Grassroots coordinators attending the course will become the main organisers of five events set to take place before start of the showpiece event. According to the plan, Grassroots coordinators will liaise with the Directorate of National Education in different cities and choose 24 schools to take part, before organising tournaments with the participation of students from said schools.
Grassroots activities will take place in a total of eight locations: Istanbul (Asian and European sides), Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Rize and Trabzon - with each hosting activities every Friday for five weeks. Thanks to these activities, approximately 8,000 children will have the chance to benefit from Grassroots events.
One of the most important legacies that the FIFA U-20 World Cup will leave Turkey will be Grassroots Events Handbook, which will be translated into Turkish in the coming days. That way, Turkish football will have chance to benefit from FIFA’s Grassroots activities in the long term.
Speaking about the planned activities, the Grassroots Associate from the TFF side, Serbulent Sengun, had this to say: "As we all know grassroots football is the base of all football. All the future stars we are to see at the FIFA U20 World Cup this summer were once grassroots players themselves. In addition grassroots football is a great facilitator in connecting the community to a major sporting event. In this respect we value our grassroots activities for the FIFA U20 World Cup highly.
Sengun also added that the upcoming Grassroots events will help children to get to know the tournament and the participating teams more closely. "In addition to spreading the joy of playing football, we think the activities will provide will an excellent opportunity for the kids to be more interested in the tournament and the teams that are going to play in it. Surely to kick off the program with a FIFA Education program is a great start also. We hope to see a great excitement and fun for the kids in the coming months," he added.
Meanwhile, the second FIFA Grassroots Education Course is scheduled to take place between 17 and 21 June just days before the FIFA U-20 World Cup kicks off.