On Thursday – the day of its 102nd anniversary – the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) officially opened its new Cidade do Futebol (City of Football) complex, which will house all of the association's activities, both sporting and administrative.
The infrastructure, which includes the new FPF headquarters and technical centre, is located near the Estádio Nacional, in Jamor, Oeiras, close to Lisbon, and was built over the last 17 months. UEFA's HatTrick assistance programme helped to fund the ambitious project.
The opening ceremony was attended by representatives from various sectors of Portuguese society, including the newly-elected Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Education minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues represented the country's prime minister António Costa, who was unable to attend for health reasons. UEFA was represented by UEFA Executive Committee member and UEFA HatTrick Committee chairman Allan Hansen, along with Thierry Favre, UEFA's head of national associations development.
In addition to the new FPF headquarters, the Cidade do Futebol boasts a technical centre, including a 340-capacity stadium, two full-size natural pitches, a set of dressing rooms equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and an office area reserved for coaching and support staff. The installations also include a logistical centre with laundry, maintenance room, security room and warehouse, and a main building featuring an atrium, exhibition area, conference centre, restaurant and cafeteria.
"It is a milestone for the federation," said FPF president Fernando Gomes. "Building a home for the national teams was a dream. We had this goal, which was made possible by the goodwill and help of many people.
"This is an asset for the federation and Portuguese football," he added. "We prepared for competitions in several locations prior to this, but now we have our own space, our home, to develop our activity. Just because we now have this infrastructure doesn't mean that we will have greater or lesser responsibilities. What we do have is more chances to achieve our goals."
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reflected that "football unites the Portuguese", and added. "Who does not remember half a dozen unforgettable moments linked to football? I hope that this project helps to strengthen the sport."
Also attending the ceremony were Paulo Vistas (mayor of Oeiras town council), João Wengorovius Meneses (secretary of state for youth and sport) and José Mendes (deputy secretary of state for the environment), as well as the leaders of the parliamentary groups of the Assembly of the Republic.
The FPF invited, among others, its former presidents, former national-team coaches and former international players, as well as presidents of the clubs involved in the country's football and futsal competitions.
"It has been a privilege to be present today and to be able to witness these state-of-the-art facilities," said Allan Hansen. "Because this complex is very well thought out it will definitely be an asset for the Portuguese FA and the development of the game, whether one is a player, coach, referee or administrator. The Portuguese FA has now a real home, and it is great that the HatTrick assistance programme has been able to contribute to this project."
Portugal's senior national team will make use of the facilities in May to prepare for UEFA EURO 2016. However, the site's competitive debut will take place this weekend, with an U15 tournament featuring four Portuguese teams and 84 players.
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