The president of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), Rovnag Abdullayev, has visited UEFA's House of European Football in Nyon.
Mr Abdullayev, who was accompanied by AFFA vice-president Elshad Nasirov and the association's general secretary Elkhan Mammadov, met UEFA president Michel Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino for talks which focused, among other things, on football development and the relationship between UEFA and the AFFA.
UEFA gives assistance to the AFFA, which became a UEFA member national association in 1994, in particular through its HatTrick programme on behalf of the European governing body's 53 constituent associations. Talks on this topic took place at UEFA headquarters with officials from UEFA's national associations division.
"It's an honour to come to UEFA's headquarters, the centre of European football," Mr Abdullayev told UEFA.com. "It's our first visit here, so it's very exciting for us." The UEFA and AFFA presidents discussed Azerbaijan's work to develop its football infrastructures, and the country's strategic planning for future years.
"We have three main priorities – grassroots football, football education and infrastructures – and I'm glad that UEFA has supported us not only technically, but also financially," said Mr Abdullayev.
"We have no doubt that without UEFA's assistance, football could not have developed as it has in recent years – in Europe and in the different football associations. Particularly in our case, the support from UEFA for the Azerbaijan association is most important."
Football enjoys great popularity in Azerbaijan, with national-team successes arousing considerable joy among fans. "One of our missions is to make the game even more popular than before," Mr Abdullayev emphasised. "We have strategic planning for the future of the national team, but we know that to develop the national team, we must start at the grassroots. We have to increase the level of education and improve infrastructures. We know our goals, and we have a vision for the future."
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