The new president of the Football Federation of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FFM), Ilcho Gjorgjioski, has visited the House of European Football in Nyon.
Mr Gjorgjioski, who was elected in July, held talks with UEFA President Michel Platini and senior UEFA officials on the development of football in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as UEFA's sporting and infrastructure help to the association under the HatTrick assistance programme.
Football in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia dates back to the early 20th century, with the first recorded match taking place in Skopje in April 1909. The Macedonian Football Association was created in August 1948. This body became a member of the larger Yugoslav Football Association until 1991, when the Football Federation of FYROM was born.
The country's first championship was organised in the 1992/93 season, and, in 1994, FYROM joined the world football family with the award of FIFA and UEFA membership.
Ilcho Gjorgjioski is a former player and well-respected coach. He played for numerous clubs as a footballer, with FK Makedonija GP Skopje , FK Vardar, Malmö FF, PFC Lokomotiv Sofia and Bnei Sakhnin FC among others. After his playing career ended, he moved into coaching, leading Makedonija GP Skopje and Vardar to domestic titles in 2009 and 2012.
"It's one of the most important moments in my career so far," Mr Gjorgjioski told UEFA.com about his first visit to the European body. "It's a highlight to meet the UEFA President. The purpose of this visit is to establish the initial contacts with UEFA's representatives and to learn about UEFA's structures.
"UEFA's help is very important," he added, "because the football structures in our country are developing. UEFA helps us a lot in strengthening the infrastructures, and I am committed to initiating many activities from grassroots football up to the professional level." The development of Macedonian youth football, progress for the national teams, and raising the standard of the domestic leagues and clubs are among the targets for the future.
"Of course, my wish as president is that my country could qualify for a EURO or [FIFA] World Cup final round," Ilcho Gjorgjioski explained. "This would be a highlight not only for football, but also for the entire country. However, I am aware that this cannot happen overnight – we have to work sincerely and systematically to build up the entire structure so that results follow in the coming years."
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