MADRID, 5 Oct. (EUROPA PRESS) –

The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, felt “proud and happy” of the incorporation of Ukraine to the candidacy of Spain and Portugal to organize the 2030 World Cup, a project that “is now much better and that he has many things to gain”.

“I want to thank UEFA, which has always supported us, and convey how proud and happy I am to be sitting between two colleagues. We have had continuous conversations with Andrey (Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian Federation) during these months and before the conflict, but that they had become more acute,” said Rubiales at a press conference after the announcement was made.

For the leader, the candidacy has “many things to gain.” “It has a history, wonderful stadiums, gastronomy and tourism, but today we are going one step further. Separately we each represent a football, but together the power of transformation it has in society and integration, reconstruction or hope”, he pointed out .

“This candidacy is much better and I am convinced that in Spain, both the football family and society as a whole, will be proud of the important legacy that this candidacy will leave in history. If football is capable of changing people’s lives , is also capable of improving the world because it is universal, passion, emotion and feeling”, added the president of the RFEF.

He is clear that this candidacy has “a tremendous symbology” and that he emphasizes that football can help “with a message of hope.” “Fernando (Gomes, president of the Portuguese Federation) and I see how friends and families welcome tens of thousands of exiles and I am convinced that these families will grow in the coming years remembering this historic moment for them and will continue day by day. day with the hope, which is a precious word, that one day that moment of peace will come,” he remarked.

Rubiales confirmed that both the Government and the Royal House “were informed in due course after having consulted the federations with UEFA.” “From that moment on, steps had to be taken with Ukraine and with our governments, and all of them have shown the utmost interest in supporting us,” he said.

“Our governments consider, as we do, that the transformative power of football in society is very high. We believe that any government and the people of football will make this candidacy their own. I have received many expressions of support and we are happy with the support of UEFA and our Government. and Head of State because it is important that they are by our side in such an important project for Spanish, Portuguese and Ukrainian societies,” said the former soccer player.

As for how Ukraine will be brought together in the project, he did not reveal too many details. “The institutional headquarters is Madrid and the administrative one, Lisbon. Now, the Ukrainian delegation is going to join to be able to work, but it is a very initial moment. What we wanted was to make the candidacy known and the rest will be known in the next months,” he said.

FERNANDO GOMES:

The president of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), Fernando Gomes, was in charge of confirming Ukraine’s incorporation into the project and was happy to do so “in a place with special significance as the home of European football” which is Nyon ( Switzerland), headquarters of UEFA.

“Football is more than football, it is overcoming, commitment, resilience and inspiration,” explained the leader, who praised “the remarkable courage” and “the renewed determination” that the people of Ukraine are offering in the face of the Russian invasion. “All of Europe responded when called to help and we have to continue to do so, the situation forces us and that is why we incorporated Ukraine. For some it is something unexpected, for us it is logical and natural,” he continued.

Gomes celebrated “the unconditional support” of UEFA and clarified that although “many people” thought that for Spain and Portugal “it would be easier to continue as they were and indifferent to what was happening”, it was nevertheless “more difficult”. “Ukraine cannot disappear from our memories when the war is over, football has a unique capacity for mobilization that cannot be wasted,” stressed the FPF president.

He wished that by the time of the 2030 World Cup the war would be “finished”, there would be “peace and harmony” and that “you can play there”. “Eight years remain, we are convinced that the mechanisms to achieve peace will have been found,” he admitted.

Gomes stated that the Iberian candidacy already had “two important countries in the football scene and with organizational capacity” since Spain has “many infrastructures”. “When we decided to move forward with Ukraine, we did so because we see it as the winner and that it can be a candidate for peace and hope,” he said.

“It is a winning bid. Ukraine has already organized the 2012 European Championship and it is a European country. There is a geographical distance, but we have just experienced a European Championship that has been played from London to Baku,” he concluded when asked about the long distances that will exist now .