The new president of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), Fernando Gomes, has visited the House of European Football in Nyon today.
Mr Gomes, who was elected FPF president last month, held talks with the UEFA President Michel Platini and other senior UEFA officials. Discussions focused in particular on the current and future development of football in Portugal, and on the help given by UEFA through its HatTrick assistance programme on behalf of the 53 UEFA member associations.
Portugal has a splendid and passionate football legacy, thanks to the achievements of its national teams in European and world tournaments, the successes enjoyed by its club teams in European competitions, and through the outstanding performances of a host of brilliant footballers up to the present day.
Mr Gomes, a vastly experienced football administrator who has served on UEFA's Club Competitions Committee, welcomed the opportunity to visit UEFA in his new role. "It is very important for me, and it's always a pleasure to come to UEFA to work on different tasks, to participate with UEFA and contribute to the vision of football and achieve important goals. Portugal is an important and proud member of the European football family, and I look forward to strengthening the relationship with UEFA. To come as a president of a national association also gives me a different view than before.
"In our talks with Michel Platini and the UEFA administration, we have presented our plans for activities that we want to develop and promote in Portugal, and of course shown our total commitment [to] cooperate fully in UEFA's effort to develop and promote European football," he added.
The dialogue in Nyon gave the FPF representatives the chance to hear, among other things, about UEFA's financial fair play measures and activities designed to preserve the integrity of UEFA's competitions, as well as activities aimed at safeguarding the specificity of sport and the European sports model.
Portugal is grateful for UEFA's assistance under its HatTrick scheme, which is helping national associations improve and further enhance their sporting and administrative infrastructures across the continent. "Portugal has benefited from this programme," said Mr Gomes, who cited how footballing infrastructures on the island of Madeira are being restored through such help after devastating storms in 2010. "The development of 200 mini-pitches has also given a lot of opportunities to people – especially young people – to play street football in a safe environment."
The FPF has exciting plans for the future, including the construction of a training centre for national teams. "Our main goal is to promote and develop football activities, and to bring football even closer to the fans in Portugal," said Mr Gomes. "We also need to think about protecting Portuguese talents and establishing special programmes to protect young people." Grassroots work and ensuring that the domestic competitions remain popular are also among the many goals that the FPF wishes to achieve.
An exciting year lies ahead for Portuguese football. Later this month, the national futsal team have high hopes of a top placing in the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 finals in Croatia – and the summer sees Portugal among the 16 sides jousting for glory at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
"If I can have two wishes," said Mr Gomes. "Firstly, I would like us to win these two European championships. My other wish is that I can fulfil all the engagements that I established at the beginning of my mandate."
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