GFF grassroots football coordinator Jessy Surmava is among the recipients of the 2020 UEFA Grassroots Awards, winning the gold prize in the Best Grassroots Leader category. He had been nominated in this category by the Georgian Football Federation.
Jessy Surmava is the founder of the football school in the municipality of Martvili, where more than 300 children are currently training free of charge. It is precisely this project that earned him the UEFA award.
The UEFA Grassroots Awards are being staged since 2010. The European football governing body is selecting the winning projects in the following five categories: Best Grassroots Project, Best Grassroots Leader, Best Grassroots Club, Best Professional Club and Best Disability Initiative. Through these awards, UEFA acknowledges the projects and individuals who contribute towards the involvement of people in football regardless of their age, ability, gender or other factors.
To this day, there have been 96 recipients of the UEFA Grassroots Awards representing 36 countries. Jessy Surmava is the first Georgian to win the gold prize. In 2018, the Georgian Football Federation won the silver prize for its Amateur League and Cup concept.
“I am immensely proud of this award, and would like to congratulate Jessy, our team, and Georgian football as a whole. Jessy is an example to everyone involved in Georgian football. I would like to see people like him in every region across the country. Jessy’s project has helped children in Martvili realise their dream of playing football.
This project has greatly helped increase participation in the game. It is so important to have people who might not have had the opportunity to play football for years return to the game, and that is one of the achievements of this project” – Levan Kobiashvili, GFF President.
“In 2011, the town of Martvili set a precedent by establishing the first football academy out of its own budget. One of our top priorities was developing grassroots football. This became the basis for the academy’s foundation.
The academy plays an important role in the children’s personal development. It is also vital for these youngsters to lead a healthy lifestyle.
We can give hundreds of people a chance to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This is crucial when you think about the deteriorating social situation.
We are satisfied with what we have achieved so far. We will have a base and an infrastructure in the region that will fully serve both academy education and grassroots football” – Jessy Surmava, GFF Grassroots Coordinator.
“The economic and social challenges that the nation has faced since independence have affected football too. But today, we are going through a period of awakening” – Nikoloz Jgharkava, GFF Vice-President.