Friday 28 September 2018, 08:34

FIFA Forward building pitches across Hungary

  • Hungary has benefited from newly-laid football pitches nationwide

  • Initiative is part of the FIFA Forward Development Programme

  • New facilities across Hungary in poorer, disadvantaged and remote areas

The small town of Foldeak, with a population of little more than 3,000 people, is 200 kilometres from Budapest close to the boarders with Romania and Serbia.

The opening of the new football pitch in the town’s school yard on 12 September 2018 was a rather important event gathering the attention of every citizen and of every football-thirsty youngster in the town.

“In this town every family from grandfathers and fathers, and now also grandsons and granddaughters, participate in football,” said Imre Toth, Deputy Mayor of Foldeak and Principal of the local Lajos Navay Elementary School, while welcoming everybody on that bright day.

“For me the most important message of the handing over of this pitch, financed by FIFA and the Hungarian Football Federation, is that football has the power to bring together everyone living in this community,” he concluded in his short but passionate speech.

Soon after, young girls and boys from nine to 14 years old took possession of their own brand new pitch and started immediately to make full and very good use of it.

The installation of new artificial turf and the necessary foundation works took just over a month; right on time for with the beginning of the new school year, the formation of the new school football teams and with the aspiring young talents anxious to enjoy their new high quality training and playing field.

The Hungarian Football Federation, supported by the FIFA Forward Development Programme, is delivering 40 artificial turf pitches across the country to small and medium size towns until now lacking the necessary infrastructures to fully and properly develop youth football.

The project was approved by the FIFA Development Committee in October 2017 with USD 800,000 in FIFA Forward development funds committed to support this important investment of the Hungarian Football Association. Soon after, the Hungarian Football Federation began the implementation of this important project with all of the 40 planned pitches expected to be completed and delivered in the coming few months to the young girls and boys to play their beloved sport.

The above programme is part of a larger initiative of the Hungarian Football Federation, which together with local government funding is delivering more than a thousand pitches across the country. The federation is focusing in developing grassroots and youth football with the aim of creating the next generation of talented players that will, it is hoped, live up to the inheritance and legacy of Ferenc Puskas.

Laura Fanni Kovacs is in the eighth grade of elementary school in Foldeak. She has already achieved great success for the village in both national and international taekwondo and boxing competitions, but her heart beats for football. She is part of the U-13 school team and with the new pitch she promises even better results for her team.

“Laura’s school results are also excellent,” says the school’s principal. “She is a fine example of why it is important for us that talented students have the opportunity to exercise regularly. With the pitch replacing the old, outdated gym hall, football has become easily accessible to all youngsters here.”

This pitch is already installed and the children of Foldeak are the ones celebrating football on a daily basis, but the FIFA Forward Development Programme in Hungary is far from been concluded. In the upcoming cycle, the Hungarian Football Federation intends to continue investing these funds in even more pitches so that ever more Hungarian youths can participate in the game of their dreams.