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Platini: "It will be hard reaching the standard set by the Israelis"
26/03/2010 09:00 

 In the presence of the 53 member states of UEFA, UEFA President Michel Platini and Minister of Culture & Sport Limor Livnat, the first UEFA Congress ever held in Israel drew to a close at a festive ceremony.

Before the closing ceremony, over 150 officials from UEFA member associations, together with many representatives of European Football Associations, paid a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem. When the guests arrived at the Western Wall, many of the UEFA members stood in awed silence, and then placed a note between the stones of the Wall, telling Israel Association members who organized the Congress: "We are speechless. We are trembling with emotion. This place has an enormous sense of power about it."

Afterwards, all the guests visited the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and watched the audiovisual presentation at David's Tower.

The Congress concluded with a festive event at the Har Zion Hotel in Jerusalem, hosted by Eden Harel. The event included a performance by the Voca People Band, and a stunt show by master of the ball, Eyal Horn, who drew rapturous applause from the audience, and in particular, from UEFA President Michel Platini, in bouncing balls of different sizes, down to the size of a referee's whistle.

IFA Chairman Avi Luzon thanked Platini for the fact that the Congress was held in Israel for the first time ever: "I am sure that you will all leave here as good ambassadors for the State of Israel", Luzon said.

Platini praised the IFA's level of organization: "We received a very warm reception from the Israel Football Association. After the three days of the Congress organized in such a wonderful way and the experience we enjoyed, I can say that whoever organizes the next Congress will have a hard time reaching the standard set by the Israelis".

Minister of Culture & Sport Limor Livnat thanked Platini and UEFA for coming to Israel, and thanked IFA Chairman Avi Luzon for managing to bring all the policy makers in the UEFA member states to Israel.

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