The Luxembourg Football Federation (FLF) celebrated its 100th birthday on Saturday – with UEFA President Michel Platini a proud participant in the festivities.
Mr Platini joined Luxembourg's government and national association officials for the anniversary ceremony at the Kirchberg Conference Centre, as the association – a member of UEFA since the European governing body was founded in 1954 – looked back on 100 memorable years. Mr Platini underlined the passion for football that is evident in Luxembourg, noting that there are "31,000 licensed players ... and around 400,000 inhabitants" in the Grand Duchy. "Therefore, if the figures are to be believed, Luxembourg is the most intensely football-oriented country in Europe – and that is the most important result [for the country].
"The element which changes everyone's life is to see all these young boys and girls deriving joy from kicking a ball every week, come rain, wind or snow," continued the UEFA President. "Football is a magnificent sport which has a major role in terms of social integration. Luxembourg has always been a country of immigration. And immigrant youngsters become a little bit more of a citizen of Luxembourg each time they put on their football boots.
'Admiration and gratitude'
"It is for this reason that I would like to express my admiration and gratitude to the national association, and to extend the sincerest of compliments to Paul Philipp, whose great experience and success in all areas of football – as a player, coach, national-team coach and currently [FLF] president – bring honour to Luxembourg."
During his visit to Luxembourg, Mr Platini also met the country's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker. Discussions centred on relations between UEFA and the European Union, and in particular the anchoring of sport's specificity in future EU legislation. Talks also took place with Luxembourg sports minister Jeannot Krecké.
The national team drew 1-1 with Belgium in a friendly which kick-started the centenary celebrations on Wednesday, continuing a tradition of recent improvement – the highlight of which was the 2-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory in Switzerland in September. To learn more about the Luxembourg Football Federation, click here.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.