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UEFA's commitment to the further development of European football – and to sport in its home town of Nyon in western Switzerland – will be reinforced on 1 April when it takes over the management of the impressive Colovray stadium opposite the governing body's headquarters.
The handover ceremony took place at Nyon's historic castle on Tuesday, and the notarial deeds were signed by UEFA president Michel Platini and the mayor of Nyon, Daniel Rossellat. Various long-term rights pass into UEFA's hands with respect to the ownership of the various installations at the Colovray stadium site.
Nyon has been UEFA's home since 1995 when the European body moved from Berne, and the House of European Football on the shores of Lake Geneva was inaugurated in the autumn of 1999. The Colovray stadium includes a main football pitch – which has been used for pre-tournament and pre-season training by national and club teams – and several other pitches, as well as track and field facilities and a restaurant.
UEFA will use the Colovray complex for its own events, and one of the key initial measures to be taken is the creation of a centre of refereeing excellence for young match officials to continue their training and development. A new synthetic pitch will be laid, with the installations to meet the requirements of the Swiss Football Association (SFV-ASF) for the Swiss second division, the Challenge League, in which local club Stade Nyonnais play. Sporting life in Nyon will continue to flourish as the town's clubs and sports associations take full advantage of top-notch facilities.
"I am very pleased," said Michel Platini. "This is the story of a vision. I wanted to create a European football campus and this is taking place. I think this is a wonderful thing." Mr Platini explained how he had wished to advance the football side of UEFA's activities, in addition to its administrative duties, in particular through a partnership with Nyon – given the presence of excellent sports premises so close to UEFA's HQ.
Mr Platini emphasised, too, that the Colovray complex would not only provide first-rate sporting facilities for UEFA's 53 member associations, but also for the people of Nyon, as is currently the case. "We commit ourselves to respecting all the local sports associations who play their matches at the sports complex, and all the local youngsters participating in sports activities."
"I would like to salute UEFA president Michel Platini for his vision, his boldness and his courage," said Mr Rossellat. "I think this is an extraordinary thing – we are innovating. In any event, there are few examples such as this in Europe, and certainly there were no such cases in Switzerland. For Nyon, it represents an exceptional opportunity."
Construction is also being completed on a new UEFA building at the side of the Colovray complex. The new building – circular in shape and meeting high ecological and environmental standards – will enable UEFA to bring together staff members who are based at different sites.
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