UEFA welcomes today's European Parliament report on sport as a very encouraging milestone for the future of European football.
The extensive report enlists MEPs' support for all of UEFA's main policies and core values in very clear terms. The document also underlines that close cooperation between European Union (EU) member states' relevant authorities and sports federations is essential to tackle the scourge of violence in stadia.
UEFA President Michel Platini said: "This resolution shows the European Parliament understands the challenges facing European football. I am impressed with the text and the amount of effort that has gone into it. UEFA reaffirms its commitment to continue working with the parliament and other EU bodies to implement solutions to these issues."
The European Commission's communication on sport, published last year, proposed ways in which the EU's competence in sport, created by the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, could be implemented. Today's report, authored by MEP Santiago Fisas, outlines the European Parliament's views on this, and in particular how specificity of sport could be taken into account.
The so-called Fisas report is unequivocal in its backing of UEFA's financial fair play rules, which are currently being administered across Europe. The report "clearly states its support for licensing systems and financial fair play, as they encourage clubs to compete within their actual financial means".
In addition, the report "recognises the legitimacy of sports courts for resolving disputes in sport". In UEFA's view, sports arbitration bodies guarantee the universal application of sporting rules, as well as swift procedures, which the nature of sports competitions requires.
On the issue of betting, the parliament calls on the commission and the EU member states to recognise sports competition organisers' property rights for their competitions. The report notes that this would "guarantee that the sports industry takes full advantage of the benefits of the internal market", one of the EU's cornerstones.
MEPs also join UEFA in calling for match-fixing to be made a criminal offence. Moreover, the Fisas report observes that developing practical instruments is imperative in order to foster cooperation between sports bodies and public authorities to fight match-fixing.
The parliament strongly endorses the European sports model and the central role sports federations play in it, along with the principle of promotion and relegation. The national and territorial nature of European sports structures is emphasised in the report, which specifies that "sporting clubs should make players available when they are selected for national teams".
MEPs underline the "fundamental importance" of audiovisual rights being managed on a "centralised, exclusive and territorial basis", which is fundamental for the funding of grassroots sport.
Finally, the parliament "reaffirms its commitment to the home-grown player rule" and backs sports governing bodies in their efforts to foster the local training of young players. The European Parliament suggests the home-grown players rule as a model for other sports in Europe.
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