UEFA President Michel Platini has visited Serbia where the main pitch at the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) training centre was named after him in a ceremony at Stara Pazova, 30km from Belgrade.
The pitch was christened "Pitch No10 – Michel Platini" during an inauguration ceremony attended by Mr Platini and FSS president Tomislav Karadžić as well as senior officials from both organisations.
It is the first time that an FSS training centre facility receives a footballing name – in this case, that of the UEFA President – and the association will continue with this practice, with installations to be called after major Serbian football personalities.
The FSS training ground's construction was the result of cooperation between the Serbian association and UEFA, under the auspices of the UEFA HatTrick assistance project. "Relations between UEFA and the FA of Serbia are excellent," said Mr Karadžić. "Michel Platini, with other UEFA officials, helped us on the way in building this sports centre, and the FA of Serbia has made the most logical and honest decision – to inaugurate a pitch with his name.
"In addition," he added, "everybody in Serbia has respect for Michel Platini from his playing days and we want to thank him through this. It is a pleasure for us that one of the pitches is inaugurated in the name of Michel Platini. We deeply believe that so many talented youngsters who work hard will go forward and be a star like he was. The 'No10' is a symbolic detail, which was a trademark of Michel Platini's football period."
"It is a really great honour for me," said Mr Platini. "This is the second pitch with my name – the first is at the French FA [FFF] sports centre in Clairefontaine. Now I accept this kind offer of the FA of Serbia, because this is one pitch in a very modern sports centre. I would like to say thanks to president Karadžić and the FA of the Serbia for their decision and to express satisfaction about our good relationship."
Mr Karadžić went on to present the UEFA President with a small model of the pitch unveiled in his name, as well as the Golden Pin of the FSS for his contribution not only to relations between UEFA and the association, but also to the development of European football.
The two presidents, in the company of the official delegations of four national associations – Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Albania – also attended the final match of a UEFA development tournament between Serbia and FYROM.
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