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Vladimir Putin met with President of the Union of European football associations (UEFA) Alexander Ceferino.
the meeting was attended by presidential aide Igor Levitin, the Chairman of the Board, General Director of JSC "Gazprom Neft", the President of the Russian football Union Alexander Dyukov.
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Vladimir Putin: Mr. Ceferin, founder, I am very glad to see You again.
the Fact that You are in St. Petersburg, is not accidental. We know that St. Petersburg is chosen as one of the twelve cities of Europe, which will be held the European championship next year. And it will be a special championship as it will be marked the sixtieth anniversary of the holding of such Championships, the European Championships in football. For us, it is of considerable importance because, when was held the first championship sixty years ago, the national team of Soviet Union won it.
Russia is an UEFA member directly, the Foundation, in 1954, I think. And our representatives work in almost all its committees.
Mr. President, You yourself, being in Nizhny Novgorod, gave a high assessment of Russia's capabilities of carrying out and preparation for major international competitions. Will do everything to not let You down, not to let the fans, the players.
A. Ceferin, founder (as translated) : Thank you very much for the invitation, Mr. President. For me it is a joy and an honor. And not only because St. Petersburg is one of the twelve cities which will accept Euro 2020, but also because today there will be the match of the club "Zenit", which we will attend today.
We at UEFA are happy that football in Russia is becoming increasingly important. The world Cup was perfect. And these two companions know that I am no diplomat, so I say this not because it's some kind of politeness. I really believe that the world Cup was organized perfectly. And I am confident in Russia's ability to organize such events at the highest level.
Thank you very much. I know that You have a very busy schedule. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.
Vladimir Putin: But You are right when you say that soccer's popularity is growing. This is the most popular sport, it has been, remains so. But she is really growing. Somewhere right now, according to our estimates, about three million people we are somehow connected with football. And the growing popularity of connected, of course, including holding major events such as the world Cup, for example.
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