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UEFA extends support for Just Play.

A signing ceremony involving OFC President David Chung and UEFA President Michel Platini took place following the OFC Extraordinary Congress in Budapest on Wednesday as UEFA committed EUR 700,000 to the successful Just Play programme.

It follows on from UEFA’s EUR 500,000 contribution to the initiative in 2010.

Just Play is a FIFA-approved programme which promotes physical activity for primary school-aged children while encouraging community involvement and healthy living.

Led by OFC Head of Social Responsibility Franck Castillo, Just Play has involved more than 76,000 youth and almost 2,000 trainers across Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu since its launch in 2009.

The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between OFC and UEFA is to further promote the implementation of the programme in partnership with member associations of OFC, ministries of education, football clubs and non-government organisations.

President Chung says Just Play is continuing to expand with American Samoa and New Caledonia launching the programme in 2012.

“Just Play has been successful thanks to the support of our partners and we acknowledge UEFA for their ongoing commitment to achieving positive change for children across the Pacific,” says President Chung.

UEFA will provide financial support of up to EUR 700,000 over a two-year period. Meanwhile Just Play managers will work closely with the UEFA Grassroots Programme to provide annual activity reports from their respective regions.

President Platini says UEFA is pleased to continue its support for Just Play.

“Using football as a tool to educate young children and the positive results and impact shown in the last two years are the key reasons for UEFA to continue our partnership with OFC,” says President Platini.

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