UEFA EURO reinvested in European game.

 The Croatian Football Federation is rolling out at least one new training pitch for grassroots clubs in each of the nation's 21 counties, thanks to UEFA EURO revenue reinvested in developing the European game.

UEFA EURO  reinvested in European game.

Croatia has grand ambitions to increase pitches all over the country

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has singled out its long-term goal of laying more than 100 pitches by 2023 as "living proof" of how the European sports model is driving football development across the country.

The model, which forms the foundations on which most of Europe's sports institutions and governing bodies are built, works on the premise that revenue generated by competitions at the top of football's pyramid structure is reinvested back into the game at every level – from elite clubs to grassroots activities.

One of the new pitches in Metković, south-eastern Croatia

"We are investing revenue generated by UEFA's European Championship into a long-term project that will ensure each of Croatia's 21 counties has at least five new quality training pitches," said HNS president Marijan Kustić during a visit to UEFA headquarters on Thursday.

"It is living proof of how the European sports model works – using income from an elite national team competition to give more people the chance to play grassroots football on a quality surface, wherever they live and whatever the weather."

Strategic work

To date, the HNS has funded the construction of 16 pitches in 14 counties with each of the remaining seven expected to complete at least one new surface by the summer of 2023.

By reducing pitch maintenance costs for smaller clubs and allowing training and matches to continue throughout Croatia's cold, wet winters, the new infrastructure is expected to significantly boost grassroots participation in Croatia.

Pakrac, western Slavonia, is another town to benefit from a new playing surface

Pakrac, western Slavonia, is another town to benefit from a new playing surface

"We're very proud of the strategic work in this area over the last three or four years," added Mr Kustić. "Our national team's results have been excellent, but our infrastructure was always lagging behind. This project truly helps in that regard."

HatTrick development programme

EURO funds, allocated to all 55 of Europe's national football associations through the UEFA HatTrick development programme, have also allowed the HNS to help Croatian first division clubs build new pitches and install drainage and pitch heating systems:

Koprivnica: Gradski Stadion (Slaven Belupo)

Pula: Aldo Drosina Stadium (NK Istra 1961)

Šibenik: Šubićevac Stadium (HNK Šibenik)

Split: Poljud Stadium (HNK Hajduk Split)

Varaždin: Gradski Stadion (NK Varaždin)

Zagreb: Maksimir Stadium (GNK Dinamo Zagreb) | Kranjčevićeva Stadium (NK Lokomotiva, NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac)

Zaprešić: Ivan Laljak-Ivić Stadium (NK Inter Zaprešić)

Gorica: Gradski Stadion Velika (HNK Gorica) – due for construction in summer 2022

Each of these stadiums, which are owned by the local city council, are also available for use by Croatia's national teams.

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