HRH The Duke of Cambridge, welcomed the XXXVII UEFA Congress to London on Friday morning and praised the work at grassroots level of all 53 nations represented.
The FA President gave the opening address at the event, hosted in London’s Grosvenor House hotel in the 150th anniversary of The Football Association.
With the capital staging the two UEFA Champions League Finals and a Festival of Football this week, The Duke of Cambridge also expressed his pride in the nation.
And ahead of Saturday’s main event at Wembley between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, he also shared his predictions for the Final showdown.
"It is a great honour for us, the English FA, to host not just this prestigious Congress, but of course - the real excitement - tomorrow's Champions League Final.
"My money is on Bayern Munich, two-nil,” he smiled.
The Duke of Cambridge, who was presented with a Champions League matchball by UEFA President Michel Platini, continued: “To host these events during our 150th anniversary year is truly special.
“The rules of association football were drafted 150 years ago in a London pub very close to where we meet today.
“As you know, we English have a love affair with both football and our pubs, so it's no surprise that one helped create the other.
“Those association football rules have spawned a game loved by the world and it’s wonderful that so many nations can be here together to celebrate its progress.”
The Duke of Cambridge also talked about the important legacy left by the Olympics in London last year: "We were fortunate recently to experience the amazingly positive impact that elite sport can have.
“London 2012 was an Olympics with legacy at its heart - it set out to inspire a generation through the excellence of its competition.
"I am delighted to see that UEFA are determined along the same path. The investment by you in community facilities here in London, and the creation of a fans' zone within the Olympic Park that will bring the excitement of the Final to the wider public, demonstrate a commitment to deliver a lasting legacy for London from this weekend's event.
"Part of that legacy should be about encouraging people to play the game we all love."
He added: “There are 53 nations represented here today, and I know that all of you work tirelessly to encourage as many people as possible to play and enjoy football. Football can transform boys’ and girl’s lives, instilling fitness, team discipline, aspiration and fairness.
“Events like tomorrow’s match are hugely important as they inspire through their excellence, but what really counts is the work you all do at grassroots level; investing in facilities, training coaches and addressing discrimination to make the game open to everyone.
“The week, London and English football feel very much at the heart of European football. We are so very proud of this.
“What unites us all is our love of the game that crosses boundaries. Wherever each one of us has come from to be here today, we are all first and foremost fans.
"And it is in this spirit, one football fan to another, that I welcome you to London.”