Alexander Lukashenko meets UEFA president Michel Platini


Alexander Lukashenko meets UEFA president Michel Platini

In 2015, Belarus will join the UEFA program for the preparation of elite players. This was announced during a meeting of President Alexander Lukashenko with president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Michel Platini. The project provides financial assistance in the amount of 100 million euros to each age group of beginners.

The officials discussed such issues of modern football as racism, the problem of match-fixing and the development of fan movements. Alexander Lukashenko thanked Michel Platini separately for the opportunity to hold in Belarus the 2016 UEFA European Women's U17 Championship. And he noted that Belarus hopes for further cooperation with UEFA, including in terms of conducting major football competitions.  

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
I have known you for a long time. I carefully watched you on the football field. I envied not only personally, but also our entire Soviet public envied the fact that France has such a specialist. I admire your vision of the field, your game. I say this as then professional football player. Now I know you as one of the leading experts of football, head of the European Federation.  I must say that we have always supported and will support your endeavors because they are aimed at the development of football, the creation of equal conditions for countries participating or wishing to participate in this wonderful event. Your visit and those specialists who come from you to us, they give us great help in the development of the sport.
I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to hold the 2016 UEFA European Women's U17 Championship, maybe this is your test of our country. You can be sure we'll do it at the highest level! Will do as you tell us. And even better! My confidence is based on the fact that we have recently conducted the IIHF World Ice Hockey championship. It was the best in history. We are determined to make the U17 championship among girls the best in history. We promise you this. And you will see how we can organize such events. Perhaps you'll risk and let us hold more serious competition in this sport. I thank you for the great attention that you give to our country, as well as other developing states, for the financial help and support you give to our federation.

Michel Platini, the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA):
Mr. President, I am, of course, aware of your love for football. We talked with you during the Final of the European Football Championship in Ukraine and during my previous visit to Belarus in 2009. Today's visit... I would call it a courtesy visit, a tribute to Belarus. We are closely following all the achievements of the Belarusian team. We assume that you are waiting for good results. Let me thank you for all what you do for the development of football. UEFA also contributes, but your personal contribution is much higher. In previous visits, we discussed possible events that Belarus can play host to. Next year, the UEFA European Women's U17 Championship will be held here. I am sure that Belarus will be ready to host even more significant events.  

Belarus is now implementing a state program aimed at football development. Over the past four years, the number of sites with artificial turf has doubled. The country regularly hosts large-scale (including international) competitions that involve tens of thousands of players.

Michel Platini: 
If young players are provided with pitches, good coaches and are given the opportunity to play, good players will grow up. In Belarus, this system of training is at a good level, it is developing. And now you just need to wait for young players to grow up and show results. And if Belarus needs this, UEFA is ready to provide additional assistance, including in the area of coaching.