UEFA to help Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia in developing football

UEFA to help Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia in developing football

Football associations of Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia will be granted funds from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to develop their infrastructure. Each of the is to receive up to 14.1 million.

The funds will be allocated to UEFA's 55 member associations within the HatTrick V solidarity and development programme (2016–2020). 

The programme has been earmarked to receive 775m euro in its next four-year cycle. This represents an increase of almost 30% from the 600m euro available for HatTrick IV. Each association will therefore be able to receive up to 14.1m euro over four years.

A substantial increase in the amount distributed to the teams participating in the final tournament of UEFA EURO 2020 was also approved by the UEFA Executive Committee. The 24 national teams will share a total of 371m euro compared with the 301m euro distributed at UEFA EURO 2016 in France.

Record prize money for UEFA EURO 2020 and record grants for the development of the game in Europe were announced at the 42nd UEFA Ordinary Congress in Bratislava.

In other events occurring at the 42nd UEFA Ordinary Congress, Juan Luis Larrea Sarobe (Spain) was elected to the UEFA Executive Committee for a one-year term, whereas Sándor Csányi (Hungary) was elected FIFA vice-president for a one-year term, both being elected by acclamation. Following the election of Sándor Csányi, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to appoint Fernando Gomes to replace him as a member of the FIFA Council until the 2019 UEFA Congress.

A creative producer and the host of Vesti FM, Gia Saralidze, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that these funds surely wouldn't come amiss. "They can be spent on the development of the infrastructure of children's and youth sports, the creation of training programs for children's coaches and so on," he said.

According to the host Vesti.FM, everything will depend on how effectively this money will be spent. "In Azerbaijan, for example, they invest more money in infrastructure, and Georgia invests less. But any funds, certainly, can have a very positive result," Saralidze explained.

However, he doubted the appropriateness of an equal distribution of funds among all 55 members of UEFA. "There are economically developed countries with developed infrastructure like Germany, and there are countries that lag behind not only in economic, but also in sports and infrastructure development. If we talk about where it would be better to send this money, then for Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan these 14 million euros aimed at the development of football are one thing, and for Germany it's different. It would be more logical to allocate more money to the countries, which need it. But in this case, it's UEFA policy," the creative producer of Vesti.FM concluded.

Chairman of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) Coaches Committee Vagif Sadigov, in turn, drew attention to the fact that these 14.1 million will make a significant contribution to the development of football in the country. "New stadiums, grounds, bases and academies are being built in Azerbaijan today. And this all leads to the fact that our clubs and national teams successfully perform at the international level. These money, of course, will be used for the development of Azerbaijani football and infrastructure," he said.

Vagif Sadigov also expressed the opinion that the equal distribution of funds between the associations shows that absolutely all members of UEFA are equal. "Of course, for those who are high in the rating, this is a purely symbolic sum, but for us it is very significant," the Chairman of the AFFA Coaches Committee concluded.

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