The president of the Slovak Football Association (SFZ), Ján Kováčik, has visited UEFA's headquarters in Nyon for talks centring on the relationship between UEFA and the association and also the development of football in Slovakia.
Mr Kováčik, who was elected in September, met UEFA president Michel Platini and senior members of the UEFA administration, with the deliberations focusing in particular on the assistance given to the SFZ under the European governing body's HatTrick programme on behalf of the 53 UEFA member national associations.
Mr Kováčik, who comes from Banska Bystrica, said that key targets include raising the profile and image of football in Slovakia – a country which celebrated its first-ever qualification for a FIFA World Cup in South Africa this summer, performing creditably and reaching the round of 16.
"This is an important moment personally to come to UEFA," Mr Kováčik told UEFA.com. "UEFA gives considerable help to the Slovak association to develop its football, and Michel Platini is an experienced football man. The most important source of help for us and other associations is obviously the HatTrick programme. Several projects have been completed or are still ongoing. In the future we will use the funds for different kinds of programmes, and we very much appreciate this support.
"The Slovak football movement is the biggest in the country," he added. "But I would like to improve the image of the game and the position that football has in society."
Among other important goals for the future, Mr Kováčik explained, are: to provide a stadium in the capital Bratislava that would be able to stage matches in international competitions; to continue the creation of academies for youth development; and to achieve qualification for the final rounds of major competitions from senior to youth level.
"A major wish is to build up infrastructures that will be long-lasting over a period of years, rather than to just have partial and short-term successes," Mr Kováčik concluded.
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