Athletic Club Best Professional Club

 Bilbao club recognised in the 2021/22 awards thanks to their safeguarding work for young players.

UEFA Grassroots Awards: Best Professional Club

Athletic Club are the 2021/22 winners of the Best Professional Club at the UEFA Grassroots Awards.

Athletic Club Best Professional Club

Through its academy and community work, Athletic Bilbao has developed a comprehensive child protection and safeguarding policy, enabling the protection of all young people in the club's care.

Athletic's Aterpe (Basque for "shelter") programme, which enables a safe environment for players, ballboys and girls, and player escorts, includes preventive elements, staff training and action protocols, with special attention to caring for children in vulnerable social situations. Athletic works with more than 150 grassroots clubs in the surrounding region, supporting them with training, medical and financial assistance.

In their own words: Aitor Elizegi, president, Athletic Club:

"This programme is fundamental to Athletic Club – it's our foundation. It's everything that Athletic is about – a trust in youth, a trust in society - it's a necessity and value. We try to turn our words into reality. It's not always easy, but Athletic is committed to this and we thank UEFA for taking notice of this effort."

Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president:

"Selecting the winners of the UEFA Grassroots Awards is always an enjoyable and inspiring task. It highlights the impressive, inclusive, and noteworthy projects of national associations and clubs across the continent, whose influence often sways beyond sports.

"Congratulations to the winners, and I wish you and all the nominees even more future success as you continue to forge these outstanding projects that have an essential impact on the game's growth and your communities."

Best Professional Club 2021/22: Bronze and Silver winners

Silver: Ferencvárosi TC (Hungary)

Ferencváros' community work focuses on promoting fair play, morality, respect and non-violent, doping-free sport, all under its "Fradi Fair Play Committee", while its schools programme, where players visit schools around Hungary, has already reached 55,000 children in 190 institutions. The club also organises a Community Champions League – an amateur street football competition that aims to increase social integration and cohesion among boys and girls aged 10-12.

Bronze: FK Vilnius (Lithuania)

FK Vilnius provides footballing opportunities for boys and girls of all ages, working with local charities, universities, schools and nurseries to benefit underprivileged children and families, offering free training kit for those who need them, as well as organising dedicated community events, tournaments and fitness groups.

About the UEFA Grassroots Awards

Since 2010, the UEFA Grassroots Awards have celebrated excellence beneath the elite levels of European football, highlighting the unsung heroes whose dedication allows the game to thrive and provides a foundation for the wider development of the sport.

Candidates are nominated by UEFA's member national associations, with award winners selected by UEFA's Executive Committee, following recommendations made by the organisation's Grassroots Panel and Development and Technical Assistance Committee.

How does UEFA select the winners?

The criteria for Best Professional Club include outstanding non-commercial grassroots work, providing for a wide range of participants and delivering a positive social impact. This season, particular attention was paid in looking for a contribution to the return to play following the pandemic, as well as collaboration with schools or other institutions while supporting UEFA's overall grassroots philosophy.

Post a Comment