UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has expressed his optimism for the future of football in Latvia during a visit to the country – and has pledged UEFA’s full support in fostering the development of the Latvian game.
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UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has visited Latvia, as he continues a series of fact-finding missions across UEFA’s 55 member associations.
Mr Čeferin met the new president of the Latvian Football Federation (LFF), Kaspars Gorkšs, and other senior association officials, for talks which centred on the development of football in the country, and the cooperation between UEFA and the LFF to nurture this development.
During his trip, Mr Čeferin also met the President of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, finance minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola and the deputy mayor of the capital Riga, Andris Ameriks.
Latvia became a UEFA member in 1992. Both UEFA and the association are working in tandem to set a positive football course for the future in the Baltic country – in particular through UEFA assistance programmes such as UEFA GROW and HatTrick.
All of the meetings centred on the role of football in Latvia, and its potential to stimulate the development of Latvia and its people far beyond the football pitch.
“The future of Latvian football looks bright,” said Mr Čeferin. “The people we have met today were very supportive, so I am optimistic.”
“UEFA is investing considerably in infrastructures, and we will continue to help Latvia. It is also very important that the association has the backing of the government and municipalities.”
Kaspars Gorkšs expressed the hope that cooperation between the association, UEFA and the Latvian national and municipal authorities will bear fruit in the future, and he underlined the potential for football in Latvia.
“In our meetings, we looked to showcase the impact football can have on the development of Latvia and its prosperity,” he explained. “Football adds to the well-being of our nation.”
A UEFA GROW workshop was staged in Latvia last week as part of UEFA’s support for the LFF’s strategic and systematic business development. Targeted areas include strategic planning, commercial/marketing activities and revenue growth, effective strategic communication and public affairs.
Key aims for the Latvian FA also include increasing participation, developing grassroots activities and, in particular, attracting more girls and women to become involved in football.
The LFF is keen to develop its clubs and league structures, and to implement effective talent development programmes to bring through promising young footballers.
The Latvian national association will host the UEFA GROW Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony at the end of October. The event will be attended by all of the UEFA member associations, who will send representatives from areas such as marketing, communications, participation and commercial activities.
UEFA HatTrick funding will also contribute significantly to the expansion and enhancement of football infrastructures across Latvia, as part of a development programme up to 2020.