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Football Federations of Armenia and Georgia will submit a joint bid to host the U-20 World Cup

FFA 05.06.2024 16:54

FFA president Armen Melikbekyan and President of GFF Levan Kobiashvili will submit a joint bid to FIFA to co-host the World Youth Championship (U-20) 2029 in two countries. This was stated by the 2 presidents at today's press conference.

"This is an important statement for two countries and two federations. Considering the good-neighborly relations between the Football Federation of Armenia and the Georgian Football Federation and the brilliant cooperation in various fields, the Federations of the two countries decided to apply to FIFA with the aim of holding the World Youth Championship 2029 and start working on a joint application today," said FFA President Armen Melikbekyan.

The FFA President also presented the background of the application. “We reached a preliminary agreement with Levan Kobiashvili last year, and the governing bodies of the two federations held meetings in Tbilisi. It was decided to make a statement in Yerevan. This is one of the largest tournaments held by FIFA. If our bid will win, it will be a great honor for us to host this tournament together. We had preliminary consultations with the European and World governing bodies of football. I have to say that UEFA, the governing body of European football, has already confirmed that he will support the joint bid of Armenia and Georgia.

Then the journalists had the opportunity to ask questions to the presidents of the football federations of Armenia and Georgia.

About the question referring the infrastructures, FFA president Armen Melikbekyan stated that they are cooperating with the government, which has a plan to build at least two stadiums. Both of them will be located near the border with Georgia. One of the stadiums will be located approximately in the Dilijan-Ijevan area, and the other one in Lori region, most likely in the city of Vanadzor. The Republican Stadium will also be used. He also expressed hope that the National Stadium program will be implemented, preliminary work on which has already begun. Armenia, according to the initial plan, will use 4 stadiums.

The next question was about the under 14 and under 15 national teams who will take part in the tournament in 2029. Armen Melikbekyan mentioned that it's not just about this age category, and that they have to think about other players the same way. It would be a mistake to focus only on this age. “The development plan that we have is being put into action and we are constantly trying to make changes. But once we understand the format, and if we win the bid, we will try to understand what kind of plan we are going to do. Because if the national teams of Armenia and Georgia will take part in the tournament, of course, another program should be drawn up for this team. We have already had development tournaments this year, we will also have them at the end of the year. And, of course, we plan to increase the number of international matches for players of this age” added the prsident.

Then there was a question to Levan Kobiashvili about the connection between this cooperation and the success of the Georgian national football team, which was qualified for the final stage of Euro 2024.

“Yes, the Georgian national team reached the final of the European Championship for the first time in history, and as you know, I am not only the president of the Georgian Football Federation, but also a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, and I know that UEFA supports the FFA in various initiatives, at the same time expressing its satisfaction with the efforts and programs that the FFA is making. At the same time, I hope that one day the Armenian national football team will also be able to reach the finals of a big tournament, and in this matter I wish you all the best”- he said.

FFA President also talked about the enough experience that Armenian Football Federation and the Georgian Football Federation have accumulated in hosting major tournaments in recent years. GFF has experience in organizing the final stages of the European Under-19 and Under-21 championships, and we, in our turn, have experience in organizing the final stages of the European Under-19 Championships, as well as the Futsal Champions League final 4.He thinks that our international partners also know that we have conducted these tournaments quite well, and there is mutual confidence between the parties that we can hold international tournaments of a more serious level.

Levan Kobiashvili mentioned that last year, together with Romania, they hosted the European Under-21 Championship, and it was an incredibly serious experience for them. This contributes to the development of infrastructure in the country, since after these tournaments the infrastructure remains, serving for the domestic championships.

FFA President added that we are the first countries to declare their desire to host this tournament, and I can add one thing: “UEFA will protect our joint bid from Europe.

Talking about the deadlines he Armen Melikbekyan added that they do not have final approval from FIFA yet, but we know beforehand that by the end of this year or the beginning of next year we will receive an official form for submitting an official application. Hopefully, the winner will be announced in 2025”.

To the question about the training fields, FFA President stated they are working in that direction. Again, together with the government, with the support and financing of the government, the FFA has a project to build a football academy in Ijevan, which will be fully used already during the Under-20 World Cup. There are such programs also in Yerevan, Martuni and Artashat.

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