UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin heard encouraging news about Armenia's football development projects, and attended the foundation ceremony for a new youth football academy.
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UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has visited Armenia, where he praised the work of the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) in creating football development infrastructures to help talented players emerge in the future.
During his trip, the latest in a series of fact-finding visits across Europe, Mr Čeferin held talks in Yerevan with the president of the Armenian FA, Ruben Hayrapetyan, and the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan.
A particular highlight of the visit saw Mr Čeferin attend the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the new Vagharshapat youth football academy in Echmiadzin – to be built with UEFA’s financial help.
Football academies already operate in three Armenian cities -Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor, and were all constructed with UEFA’s crucial support. The new academy will help the development of the game in the Armavir region, where football enjoys considerable popularity.
“I’m very proud to have been invited to take part in this opening ceremony,” said Mr Čeferin, who also visited Echmiadzin Cathedral, considered as among the oldest cathedrals in the world.
“Please let me applaud these initiatives,” he added. “This work will bring alive the dreams of so many generations. I encourage you to continue this momentum.”
The UEFA President thanked Mr Sargsyan and Armenia’s government for the support being given to the FFA to realise football projects across the country.
“We are making serious and steady steps to reach our goals,” said Mr Hayrapetyan. “This academy will give children and young people the opportunity to do what they love – play football, the game of millions."
The new academy will have four pitches, a swimming pool and a gymnasium – providing ideal conditions to nurture young players and provide Armenian teams with future talents who may go on to emulate the achievements of current Manchester United star Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
“I’m extremely hopeful that, in the near future, we will see new Henrikh Mkhitaryans emerging from these academies,” Mr Čeferin reflected.