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UEFA president visits Albania

UEFA president Michel Platini attended the Football Association of Albania's 80th anniversary celebrations while also meeting the Albanian president and prime minister in Tirana.

Michel Platini visits the FShF ©LSA

UEFA president Michel Platini has visited Albania to take part in celebrations to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Football Association of Albania (FShF). During his visit, Mr Platini held talks with the country's president Bamir Topi and prime minister Sali Berisha.

Mr Platini participated in the official inauguration of the Skender Halili centre, a Tirana training facility with artificial turf that has been installed with the help of the UEFA HatTrick assistance programme on behalf of its 53 member national associations.

"I am happy to be in Albania again, and help the improvement and progress of youth soccer, which is a very important project for UEFA," said Mr Platini, who also thanked the Tirana authorities for their support on the scheme.

Mr Platini was visiting Albania for the second time as UEFA president. Discussions with the country's prime minister Sali Berisha focused on the future construction of a new stadium to host top-level matches. "Its construction will contribute to the Albanian state, UEFA and the FShF," said Mr Berisha.

The UEFA president stressed the importance of the close relationship between UEFA and the FShF. "Very soon Albania will have a new stadium," he said. "UEFA and the FShF will fully support the project."

After the meeting with Mr Berisha, Mr Platini attended the celebrations to mark the 80th birthday of the Albanian FA. During the celebrations, the association's president, Armand Duka, expressed his gratitude to UEFA. "I would like personally to thank Mr Platini, for his visit and for his support in helping to improve soccer in Albania."

The president of Albania, Bamir Topi, held fruitful talks with Mr Platini at the Palace of Brigades in Tirana, and bestowed upon the UEFA president the Order of Mother Teresa, as his visit coincided with the country's National Day of Mother Teresa. Mr Topi also presented Mr Duka with a special award during the FShF anniversary celebrations.

The official ceremony took place in a festive atmosphere in the presence of prominent Albanian and European sporting personalities, including UEFA vice-president Ángel María Villar Llona and presidents of various associations from all four corners of the continent.

During the festivities, president Topi praised the continuous support of UEFA for the development of Albanian football. Both Mr Platini and Mr Duka took the opportunity to voice their gratitude for the president's backing for football in Albania.