The Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA) was founded in Basle, Switzerland, on 15 June 1954, bringing to fruition the pioneering vision of a handful of key football administrators of the time.
Since then, the parent body of European football - one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA - has grown into the cornerstone of the game on this continent, working with and acting on behalf of Europe's national football associations and other stakeholders in the game to promote football and strengthen its position as arguably the most popular sport in the world.
The guiding principle of the initiators in the early 1950s was the fostering and development of unity and solidarity among the European football community. Now, over 50 years later, UEFA's mission remains very much the same. But it has also become the 'guardian' of football in Europe, protecting and nurturing the well-being of the sport at all levels, from the elite and its stars to the thousands who play the game as a hobby.
In 1960, UEFA had a full-time staff of just three people. That figure has risen steadily through the years as the organisation has reacted to changing circumstances. Today, over 340 people of more than 29 different nationalities – administrators, secretaries, IT specialists, coaches, journalists, translators – are employed at UEFA's administrative HQ located in the town of Nyon, on the shores of Lake Geneva in western Switzerland.
Over the decades, UEFA has developed from a mainly administrative body into a dynamic organisation that is in tune with the vast requirements of modern-day football. UEFA is a sporting authority which does not have the powers of a government; it represents Europe's national football associations, and can only act in accordance with the wishes of these associations.
When UEFA was founded, the body comprised 25 national associations. The number of member associations rose gradually until the beginning of the 1990s, when political developments in eastern Europe and the fragmentation of the USSR led to a rapid growth in the number of new associations. Consequently, there are now 53 associations under UEFA's wing.
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