UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin has pledged the governing body’s financial support for the construction of a new national football stadium in the Latvian capital of Riga.
During a two-day visit to Latvia, Čeferin met with members of the national government and senior civic dignitaries, and held discussions with Latvian Football Federation (LFF) president Vadims Ļašenko.
Čeferin also attended a Riga City Council meeting, at which Ļašenko and Riga Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis signed a protocol of intent for the construction of a new stadium in the city.
Three possible sites have been identified for the stadium and it is hoped that construction could begin within the next few years. As well as football, the stadium would host other sports and large-scale cultural events to drive tourism in Riga and elsewhere in Latvia.
Latvia’s national team currently plays home matches at Riga’s multi-purpose Daugava Stadium (pictured), which has a capacity of around 10,000. The team also plays at the 8,000-seat Skonto Stadium in Riga.
Čeferin said: “While visiting Latvia, I can see improvements in the football infrastructure. But Latvia still needs a national football stadium. And this is not what I think … it is what I know.
“I feel that there is understanding and positive energy among the decision-makers. I don’t see this as a political issue because every major political entity should support the creation of such a sports infrastructure.
“We are ready to get involved with funding in the implementation of this project. However, all the resulting decisions and details are on the side of the LFF, the municipality and other possible partners.”
Ļašenko added: “It must be understood that this is a long-term process. (The protocol of intent is) an historic document that will allow us to continue our work on a very important issue for the development of Latvian football.”
Čeferin concluded his visit to Latvia by watching the national team’s 2-1 Nations League defeat against Moldova at Skonto Stadium on Thursday.