FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter made a one-day visit to Romania on Tuesday, travelling to the town of Buftea to open a new training academy funded in part by the Goal Project.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the President of the Romanian Football Association, Mircea Sandu, underlined the importance of development projects to national football associations.
In reply the FIFA President had this to say: “I am honoured and delighted to be here to open this complex. It is an outstanding centre, one that is ready to be used and of great value to both Romania’s national teams and the country’s youngsters, who need pitches and infrastructures to play the game they love. You have a great and wonderful country, and football can help bring people together thanks to the fair play and friendship that it promotes.”
Also in attendance as the inauguration plaque was unveiled was Frantisek Laurinec, a member of UEFA’s Executive Committee, and the Romanian Prime Minister Emile Boc, who was celebrating his 45th birthday and was presented with a national team shirt by Mr Sandu.
At the press conference that followed, Blatter said he was proud that nearly every member association of FIFA now had headquarters and a pitch they could call their own. He also spoke of the importance of meeting political stakeholders as a means of emphasising the significant role played by football in educational, health and cultural terms.
Later in the day, the National Arena in Bucharest was also officially opened and was the setting for the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying match between Romania and France, which ended in a 0-0 draw.
On Wednesday morning, prior to flying on to Slovakia, Blatter and his delegation enjoyed an audience with the Swiss Ambassador to Romania, Jean-Hubert Lebet.