YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian inaugurated a state-of-the art Soccer Academy in the Armenian capital on Wednesday as he awarded French Soccer legend Michel Platini with a Medal of Honor for his continued support for Armenia’s Football Federation, Armenian Public Radio reported.
A longtime supporter of Armenia’s Football federation, Platini serves as the manager of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). According to Armenian officials, the UEFA has provided about two-thirds of the $12 million spent on the new academy’s construction. According to ArmRadio, $4.6 million was provided by the Armenian Football Federation (AFF).
“We are awarding you for your very good passes to us, and I am confident that you will carry on with that passing,” RFE/RL quoted Sarkisian as telling Platini in football terminology. According to a statement by Sarkisian’s press office, the UEFA chief was honored for “greatly contributing to the development of child and adolescence football” in Armenia.
Speaking at the academy’s inauguration ceremony, Platini pledged the UEFA would continue supporting the Armenian Football Federation and indicated that the assistance will be ongoing and continue for years to come. “This is an endless cooperation and our investments won’t end with the financing of this center,” he was quoted by RFE/RL as saying.
The UEFA’s goal, he continued, is to promote the development of national soccer associations and give “young sportsmen” a proper place to train and develop as athletes.
According to RFE/RL, the new academy has five pitches and other facilities which could be used for simultaneously training up to a thousand young footballers.
Work on the Yerevan soccer academy began in 2007 shortly after Platini became president of the UEFA.