Vilnius, April 25 (IANS) Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President Aleksander Ceferin, on a visit to Lithuania, has pledged support in strengthening the country’s football infrastructure.
In Lithuania on Tuesday, Ceferin met with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and the president of Lithuania’s football federation Tomas Danilevicius, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Lithuania is an important member of UEFA, and at the same time infrastructure in Lithuania is one of the weakest in all UEFA,” Ceferin told the press conference following the meeting.
“We will help, we can promise that publicly with concrete funds to the federation,” Ceferin said.
The head of UEFA was joking that Lithuania’s disadvantage in football was influenced by its achievements in basketball.
The national men’s basketball team of Lithuania, a small Baltic country with population of less than 3 million, currently ranks fifth in FIBA’s world rankings. But Lithuania’s national men’s football team ranks 133rd in FIFA’s world rankings.
During Ceferin’s visit, the Lithuanian government also signed a cooperation agreement with the Lithuanian football federation to strengthen the country’s football, which, in Skvernelis words, “this is not just an empty document”.
“This is an agreement which I hope will lay the basis for a revival of the Lithuanian football,” said Skvernelis.
The prime minister insisted that Lithuania has football talents, and it only need conditions “to let them flourish”.
The cooperation agreement would include work on football infrastructure projects, though the signing parties didn’t disclose any particular objects.
Since restoring its independence in 1990, Lithuania still struggles with its efforts to build a national stadium which would meet the international standards.
The idea to build a national stadium was reignited a decade ago. Currently, the Lithuanian authorities are in negotiations to build a stadium in capital Vilnius for around $90 million.