Michel Platini expressed "immense sadness" at the death of Azerbaijan's FA president Ramiz Mirzayev.
Azerbaijan and European football are in mourning after the death of Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) president Ramiz Mirzayev on Tuesday. Mr Mirzayev passed away after a short illness at the age of 53.
President in 2003
Ramiz Mirzayev, who was born on 27 October 1954, was elected AFFA president in December 2003 and was a prime figure in the constant efforts undertaken to improve football in Azerbaijan. Having previously worked as a senior official in the oil industry, he was Azerbaijan's deputy minister for energy and industry until recently, and was a specialist in business matters as well as a noted academic. He was also head of the PFC Neftchi club before taking the AFFA position.
Mr Mirzayev was a member of the UEFA National Teams Committee from 2004 to 2007, before moving to the Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee, of which he was one of the vice-chairmen. He attended the inaugural meeting of the committee in Nyon at the start of September. In a letter of condolence to the AFFA, UEFA's President Michel Platini spoke of the "immense sadness" felt at Mr Mirzayev's passing.
Contribution to football
"Beyond all doubt, European football has lost a very familiar face and a dear friend," he said. "Some of us have had the privilege of working together with Mr Mirzayev for a number of years, and we will always remember him for his contribution to football, but also for his very pleasant and kind nature.
"His extraordinary devotion to football was highlighted by all his activities as president of the football association, and also as an active member of the UEFA National Teams Committee," UEFA's President continued. "He was a very committed individual who loved the game and his dedicated efforts will never be forgotten. We shall remember him as a devoted professional and a great personality.
"On behalf of the Executive Committee, the UEFA administration and the entire European football movement, we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to your association and we would ask you to convey our sincere condolences to his family and friends."