Contact Icons
Saturday, 13.02.2016

EUROPEAN, AND OURS – INTERVIEW: ZORAN LAKOVIĆ

All seen at Futsal EURO sets new limits and level of organisation under the UEFA auspices

Three years from the day UEFA gave Serbia an important hosting of one big competition, European Futsal Championship, that breaks all the records these days in Belgrade, one man has a special satisfaction because of the picture sent to the world, and that is Zoran Laković.

In the time of applying and obtaining hosting of the Futsal EURO, now Head of National Associations Account Management was general secretary of FA of Serbia, and he doesn't hide emotions because of compliments given to us by UEFA.

-          One of the last projects I applied to as the general secretary was the Futsal EURO, now I am here on behalf of UEFA and I can share great joy and happiness that this championship is held in Belgrade, especially as it sets new limits and level of organisation under the UEFA auspices. All possible records are broken, and I mean records in visits, attendance, number of spectators, we sent a great picture from Belgrade, we showed that UEFA made one big spectacle, besides well-known great competitions such as Champions League, League Europa or EURO – noted Laković.

Many were surprised by the media attention given to this sport event that definitely overcame all expectations of UEFA, but also of domestic public.

-          Point of this championship in Belgrade is, above all, promotion of football, not only football or futsal, but also of other values, values of social type. You could have seen that there are numerous activities happening along the tournament, starting with the tournament for children and also UEFA Foundation exhibition, well visited event. So, the whole concept of promotion of UEFA and FA of Serbia is a sign how everything should be done in future. What is really very important and what I have to emphasise is that UEFA and FA of Serbia have fantastic cooperation and let me mention only a few things we did together for the past few years. Above all, these are development and infrastructure projects that were realised on the territory of Serbia – construction of the fantastic Sports Centre, stadium infrastructure, floodlighting and numerous artificial turfs. I hope that one cycle will be completed by a mutual project and it refers to construction of the national stadium.

Does this good FA of Serbia hosting of the Futsal EURO recommend our country for some new challenges and competitions run by UEFA?

-          Except investments and competitions such as this Futsal EURO that are 100% covered by the UEFA funding, FA of Serbia got another benefit and that is that the most experienced UEFA people, responsible for organisation of great competitions such as Champions League or European Championship, came to Belgrade as one team and in a way educated all employed in the FA of Serbia. But yes, all compliments that go to FA of Serbia and to administration that did the great job, surely recommend FA of Serbia for some future events.

FA of Serbia has recently shown a wish to apply to hosting of European U-19 Championship, one very attractive competition.

-          UEFA processes are very democratic and open, each national association can apply for any tournament, but this is a question for the FA of Serbia. However, as far as I know, I think FA of Serbia will certainly apply soon for some of the final European tournaments.

Let us go back to futsal mania, increasing interest in the world for this sport by the picture from Belgrade. Does UEFA have any statistics or numbers that show how much UEFA, FA of Serbia and Belgrade contributed to expansion of this sport?

-          UEFA has certain indicators, not only about attendance, for example, if that fantastic score of Ricardinho in the match with Serbia was one of five or six most watched links on social networks on that day, I think that had a really big influence on the public interest. Everybody talks about futsal nowadays not only in Belgrade, but in the region as well, all records have been broken, more than 120,000 people in total are expected at the tournament. And, if there were a possibility for more seats, the hall would be full, I am sure of it. Anyway, as the introductory big competition of UEFA in this year, indicators are fantastic and I would underline one detail that has special meaning ad quality. All teams encountered fantastic welcome in Belgrade, many of them were met by applause and ovations, and that's a great commercial not only for futsal, but also for the FA of Serbia and the city itself. Also, UEFA enabled, with the FA of Serbia, for a promotion video about Belgrade to run before each of the match, so people all around Europe have an opportunity to become familiar with our capital. Thus, all this is more than a game and futsal, this represents absolute promotion of sport, FA of Serbia and state of Serbia, concluded Zoran Laković.

 

 FA of Serbia was one of the first to propose Infantino

How did people in Nyon react to the FA of Serbia and their president Tomislav Karadžić support to Gianni Infantino to become FIFA president?

-          FA of Serbia was one of the five associations that gave written support to candidature of Gianni Infantino. All the rest has already been said by the president Tomislav Karadžić – states Zoran Laković.

 

 We all support Platini

FIFA elections are next, are there going to be elections at UEFA?

 - UEFA has legitimate president Michel Platini who will, we hope, successfully finish his combat before the FIFA bodies and return to his duties and work. We are all certain about that, and not only people from administration, but also representatives of all European associations. This has been stated a few times now on various meetings attended by the officials of the European associations – underlined Zoran Laković.

 

I am happy in Nyon

You are at UEFA for six months now, what are your impressions?

- To be honest – fantastic. I am more than happy with my job in Nyon, I was really lucky as the FA of Serbia General Secretary to be involved in numerous UEFA activities, so I've known most of the people I work with today. I think that president Platini and general secretary Gianni Infantino really made a serious "company", I can say this now because before I only watched it from the side, and really excellent, expert and great people work there. Everybody does their own job and it's not by chance that UEFA generally has such an image and gives great "products" in the end, from futsal to EURO. All people work very hard and I can say that I was really lucky to become a part of that surroundings, said Zoran Laković.