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Romanian HQ opens for business

UEFA President Lennart Johansson was present for the opening of Romania's new House of Football.

UEFA President Lennart Johansson was among the dignitaries in Bucharest today for the opening of the Romanian Football Federation's new headquarters, the Casa Fotbalului, or House of Football.

Next to National Stadium
Mr Johansson joined FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, the honorary FIFA President João Havelange, and Marios Lefkaritis, a member of UEFA's Executive Committee, for the unveiling of the new building, located just 100 metres from the National Stadium.

Glass house
UEFA and FIFA, the world game's governing body, contributed €103,000 and €410,000 respectively to the construction of the €1.6m building, an edifice built almost entirely of glass, which spans three floors and houses three conference halls and 38 offices.

'Follow Romania's example'
Speaking at the opening of the House of Football, which was built in just ten months, Mr Johansson said: "Everywhere where there is co-operation between FAs, governments, FIFA and UEFA, there are built such Houses of Football, but also, at the same time, football academies. It would be good if, in future, other countries, not only European ones, could follow Romania's example."

National training centre
In addition to the new headquarters, the FRF will unveil on Friday a new national training centre in Mogosoaia, close to Bucharest, which comprises various pitches and a hotel with five levels.

Show of appreciation
Prior to the ceremony, Messrs Johansson, Blatter and Havelange all received the National Order of Merit, the highest decoration in Romania, from the country's president, Ion Iliescu. "It's a pleasure to receive a visit from such personalities, and I wanted to show you our appreciation for all you have done and continue to do for Romanian football, which is a truly social phenomenon," said Mr Iliescu.

Presentation to president
Mr Johansson, who was making his fourth visit to Romania, handed a small plaque to the FRF president, Mircea Sandu, in honour of the event. On arriving at Bucharest's Otopeni airport earlier in the day, the UEFA President praised the traditions of football in this eastern European country.

Good tradition
"Like a lot of other countries, Romania is a country with average dimensions, which cannot always be at the top," he said. "Russia, for example, where I was before I arrived here, has 174 million inhabitants, and that's why they can always be a very important team. Nevertheless, this part of Europe, especially Romania, has very talented football players and a great football tradition."