Aleksander Čeferin visits Armenia

The football relationship between UEFA and Armenia has been further reinforced by a visit to the country by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, which included talks with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Aleksander Čeferin shakes hands with Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. (Photo: Government of Armenia press office)
Aleksander Čeferin shakes hands with Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. (Photo: Government of Armenia press office) ©FFA

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has visited Armenia, where he held talks with the country's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and senior officials of the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA).

Aleksander Čeferin and Nikol Pashinyan (Photo: Government of Armenia press office)
Aleksander Čeferin and Nikol Pashinyan (Photo: Government of Armenia press office)©FFA

At a meeting also attended by the FFA President, Artur Vanetsyan, Mr Pashinyan gave warm praise to UEFA for its crucial contribution to strengthening football in Armenia through its HatTrick and UEFA GROW programmes. 

UEFA's HatTrick assistance programme to its 55 member associations has contributed over the years, among other things, to the building of a football academy and national team technical centre in Armenia, and has helped give impetus to the development of regional youth football infrastructures.

"HatTrick is not about any one competition or the bigger countries," Mr Čeferin said. "It is about developing football throughout our 55 countries."

The FFA is implementing a nationwide project to improve the country's footballing infrastructures. Among others, ten full-sized pitches have been built in different regions of Armenia. In addition, the building of artificial pitches is providing increased opportunities for young footballers to train throughout the year.

A grassroots event organised by the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA)
A grassroots event organised by the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA)©FFA

On the grassroots front, the association is striving for greater football participation, with the objective to get 80,000 children and adults involved in grassroots and amateur football. UEFA will also be assisting Armenia in its drive to develop women's football and futsal. 

As part of its UEFA GROW project aimed at helping the progress of Europe's national associations and maximising their potential, UEFA has worked closely with the FFA on drawing up an overall association strategic plan, as well as a new communications strategy.

"The Prime Minister highlighted the close and productive cooperation between UEFA and the Football Federation of Armenia for the benefit of the development of football in Armenia," a statement said.

Aleksander Čeferin presented Nikol Pashinyan with a UEFA pennant (Photo: Government of Armenia press office)
Aleksander Čeferin presented Nikol Pashinyan with a UEFA pennant (Photo: Government of Armenia press office)©FFA

"Nikol Pashinyan appreciated UEFA's support for the development of football infrastructures in Armenia, noting that as a result, a range of projects aimed at popularising football are underway in our country.

"The Premier expressed confidence," the statement continued, "that the UEFA President's visit would foster partnership between the UEFA and the Football Federation of Armenia, including the construction of a new national stadium in our country."

Aleksander Čeferin praised the work being undertaken by the FFA to foster Armenian football at all levels. "The association is doing a great job," he said. "We have a friendly relationship, and I'm sure that football in Armenia will only go upwards.

The UEFA delegation visited a wine and brandy factory in Yerevan
The UEFA delegation visited a wine and brandy factory in Yerevan©FFA

"The cooperation of the Armenian Football Federation with UEFA is at a high level,” added Artur Vanetsyan. "We implement many joint projects, and we hope that in the coming years, this cooperation will become even closer."

"We have discussed important issues during the visit of the UEFA President," said FFA General Secretary Armen Melikbekyan, "such as the development of football in the regions of Armenia, the need for a bigger national stadium and the prospects for development of grassroots and youth football."

The Armenian FA has also proved itself to be an excellent organiser of a UEFA final tournament, staging the latest UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals in the capital Yerevan in July.

Aleksander Čeferin said he hoped that the Under-19 event would leave a legacy for Armenia. "It's necessary to host competitions like this to promote football for the future," he explained.

Aleksander Čeferin was guest of honour at the wine and brandy factory
Aleksander Čeferin was guest of honour at the wine and brandy factory©FFA

During his trip, the UEFA President attended Thursday's European Qualifier between Armenia and Italy in Yerevan, and visited a wine and brandy factory in the Armenian capital. 

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