UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has visited Lithuania, on a day when the country‘s national association signed a cooperation agreement with the Lithuanian government to further develop the domestic game in the Baltic country.
At a ceremony attended by Mr Čeferin, the agreement was signed by the president of the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF), Tomas Danilevičius, and Lithuania’s prime minister Saulius Skvernelis.
The agreement will see the government providing input in developing Lithuanian youth football, upgrading current stadiums and the realisation of the project for a national football centre to help nurture high-calibre players.
The UEFA President, who also met LFF staff at the association’s headquarters in Vilnius, welcomed the agreement as an important step forward for the Lithuanian game and its infrastructures.
“Lithuania is an important member of UEFA,” he said. “That is why the government, the national association and UEFA are a perfect match.”
“If we all contribute our knowledge and funds, we can build a good infrastructure in Lithuania. We promise concrete funds for the association.”
Lithuania will be in the European football spotlight in a few weeks’ time, when it hosts the latest UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship final tournament from 9 to 21 May.
Mr Čeferin praised the LFF‘s tireless efforts to make football the No 1 sport in Lithuania by 2020. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he reflected, “but I want to emphasise that the association is not alone.”
“That was confirmed by the cooperation agreement signed by the association and the government today. UEFA fully endorses this, and will follow the whole process. We hope that the government will also make a significant contribution to overall progress.”
“One of the most important aspects in football’s well-being is infrastructures that can help develop high-level footballers. Therefore, I support the initiative of the LFF and the government.”
Tomas Danilevičius described the agreement as “the beginning of Lithuanian football’s rejuvenation. The new projects will be key in [creating]good football infrastructures and producing high-quality football players.”
“Statistics already prove that football is the most popular sport at grassroots level,” he added. “and Lithuanian football has the chance to be the most popular sport in Lithuania by 2020. Now, the government’s support is essential to move forward.”
“The LFF, the Lithuanian government and UEFA understand that there will be no results without collective input.”