UEFA's home town of Nyon has waved off the UEFA Youth League finals after a successful second edition at the Colovray Sports Centre. Once again, the local public turned out in healthy numbers to watch talented young players who are aiming to reach the game's summit in the years to come.
Nyon, on the banks of Lake Geneva in western Switzerland, has been UEFA's home since 1995, and the town's mayor Daniel Rossellat stresses that sport plays a key role in its activities.
"For the town of Nyon, sport is very important," he said. "It's important for education, for young people – it's the school of life. It's also important to have a suitable infrastructure for all these youngsters. We have more than 3,000 junior athletes in the different clubs in Nyon. As far as football is concerned, we are lucky to have great infrastructures and a wonderful sports centre. We hope we have the framework for all the young people who wish to play football."
For 20 years now, relations between UEFA and the Nyon community have been excellent. "I would say we are very lucky to have UEFA in Nyon, which is a town of 20,000 citizens," said Rossellat. "It's an extraordinary opportunity to have UEFA here, and the relationship is really good."
Nyon relishes the occasion to show its many facets by staging a tournament such as the UEFA Youth League final phase. "First of all, the level is very high," said Rossellat, "these are excellent players. And the media coverage is very beneficial not only for football and UEFA, but also of course for the town.
"I think [the UEFA Youth League] is important for young people because it allows them to identify with players who are quite close to their own age, in terms of potential, ambition, competition. And just seeing professional players with extraordinary potential for the future is very motivating."
The UEFA Youth League, and football as a sport, serves as an important source of education for young people in a variety of ways. Rossellat is in full agreement. "It's a crucial element," he reflects. "There are many coaches who do a remarkable job for young people playing in a competition environment, but also for all the others who learn about life through sport. They learn fair play. They learn to win, they learn to lose and they learn to respect their opponents. That's a very important thing, and we could save on social workers if we played more sport!"
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