The official training centre for the UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 was inaugurated on 8 January, just over three weeks before Ljubljana becomes the European capital of futsal. Baza (Base), located in the Ljubljana borough of Štepanjsko naselje, will be the main training facility of the Futsal EURO 2018.
»The facility will be used as the main training hall. There are two smaller ones, but this is the main one and it will be booked the whole time for team practice,« said Aleks Štolfa, the director of UEFA Futsal EURO 2018. »I think it might be the only dedicated futsal hall in Slovenia. I believe there is no reason to fear the future, it may even happen it’ll be hard to book the place,« Štolfa added.
The centre was built in a public-private partnership between the City of Ljubljana and Trigemini, a company owned by national football team members Boštjan Cesar and Bojan Jokić, and businessman Saša Abrić.
Even though it will be initially used for top-level futsal, Baza has been designed to »create equal opportunities for future generations,” Cesar told at the inauguration and labelled the centre »a kind of a thank-you to the community. Our vision is for the centre to become a hub where young players will take their first steps, even as it will be available to professional athletes.«
Jokić noted that Baza »will give the youngest the chance to practice sports without pressure and demands.” Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, whom the Trigemini trio thanked for collaboration on the project, stressed that »the point is to bring football back to where it began«.
The inauguration also had a humanitarian note: Cesar delivered a EUR 23,000 cheque to Anita Ogulin, the chairwoman of the Moste branch of the Friends of Youth Association. The funds, collected by the national team members, are designated for the Botrstvo sponsorship scheme for children from vulnerable families.