Family reunions are often seen as boring obligations that are best kept rare. Well, this is not the case in football, as demonstrated by the 36th Ordinary UEFA Congress, beautifully hosted by the Turkish Football Association (TFF) in the magical city of Istanbul.
The inclusion and active participation of members and stakeholders are the essential core of UEFA's governance system. Just like in a football team, the road to success is paved with cooperation and solidarity between all players. And just like in a football match, all the action takes place in front of everyone, in complete openness and transparency.
Good governance is not just a question of tactics and strategies; for it to bear fruit it has to be translated into concrete action on the field. And this cannot be done only on game day; it has to be practised day in, day out. It is more about hard work than sheer magic. Consequently, for UEFA, meeting our members once a year is not enough and we have therefore multiplied the opportunities to exchange ideas.
One such opportunity was the national associations' strategy meeting held in Cyprus last September. By the time of the UEFA Congress, six months later, that meeting had produced 14 Executive Committee decisions, 9 tangible results and 9 ongoing actions – the finalisation of the centralisation of commercial rights for the European qualifiers and the new format of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship being just two of them.
Another important outcome of the strategy meeting was the intensification of our cooperation with key stakeholders, which has materialised in the signing of new memorandums of understanding with the clubs (ECA), the leagues (EPFL) and the players (FIFPro Division Europe). These memorandums have led, among many other things, to the adoption of common positions on matters such as the international match calendar and insurance for players on national team duty.
European football has reasserted its unity, not in the form of a written treaty, but by rolling up its sleeves and getting things done on the ground. And the best bit is, the game is far from over. Welcome to the team!
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