UEFA's 2010 promises to be an eventful and exciting year in the life of European football's governing body.
An innovation will grace the UEFA Champions League in May, when the final at Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu will be played on a Saturday for the first time. European club football's showpiece occasion will take place on 22 May, with the Saturday setting aimed at allowing more families, and youngsters in particular, the opportunity to see one of the great football occasions of the year.
UEFA Grassroots Day
The build-up to the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League final in the Spanish capital will also include a celebration of grassroots football across Europe. Wednesday 19 May has been designated as UEFA Grassroots Day by the UEFA Executive Committee. The event will not only emphasise the European body's stance on the grassroots sector of the game at an appropriate moment – élite football cannot flourish without a healthy grassroots – but will transmit the all-important message that football is open to everyone. UEFA's 53 member associations – whose grassroots work is crucial at domestic level – will be fully involved, and UEFA is organising a series of activities for Grassroots Day.
This season's UEFA Europa League has been notable for the test with five referees, and the climax to the competition will see the experiment continue. In addition to the match referee and two assistant referees on the touchline, two extra assistants are placed behind the goalline to focus on incidents that happen in the penalty area, such as fouls or misconduct.
Preparations for UEFA EURO 2012™ will continue apace following key decisions taken by the UEFA Executive Committee over the past months. The preparatory work will move forward at four venues in Poland – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw – and four venues in Ukraine – Kyiv, Donetsk, Lviv and Kharkiv.
Decision on 2016
Looking further ahead, candidates for hosting UEFA EURO 2016™ are fine-tuning their bid dossiers, which they will have to present to UEFA by 15 February. This will be followed by an evaluation phase, during which UEFA will conduct a series of official visits to the various bidders. The UEFA administration, and experts appointed by UEFA, will then examine the bid dossiers and prepare written evaluation reports for submission to the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee. UEFA's Executive Committee will take a final decision on or about 27 May.
Financial Fair Play
The Financial Fair Play concept approved in September will continue to take strides forward with further measures being implemented to help the long-term stability of European football. The independent Club Financial Control Panel, chaired by former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, will have important work to do within the three-year period of the concept's full implementation.
Betting fraud detection
The fight against match-fixing and corruption will continue in the light of recent events and with the current investigation by German police still ongoing in several countries. The European body has set up a Betting Fraud Detection System that monitors the betting on all UEFA European matches and those of UEFA's 53 member associations' first and second divisions – all around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. UEFA is ready for the challenge, and has promised to severely punish those found to have manipulated the result of a match.
Protecting football's integrity
Fruitful dialogue with the European Union will be pursued, especially as part of efforts to ensure recognition of sport's specific nature, and the anti-doping campaign will strive to warn players that taking drugs could harm both them and their careers. The zero tolerance policy against racism will seek to root out those responsible for such conduct on and off the field, and fans, players, coaches and officials will have a full role to play in helping to promote the UEFA Respect campaign. 2010 is set to be another full year of development and innovation across UEFA's broad range of activities.
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