Increased solidarity payments to national FAs under the HatTrick scheme and fresh support for women's football were among the decisions made by UEFA's Executive Committee.
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The UEFA Executive Committee has completed its last meeting of 2010 in Prague, Czech Republic. Under the chairmanship of the UEFA president, Michel Platini, the Executive Committee discussed a number of proposals in relation to the promotion of European football in general and, in particular, to that of the women's game.
The Executive Committee approved a proposal for an increase in solidarity payments to the 53 European national football associations via the HatTrick scheme. HatTrick is the name given to UEFA's redistribution scheme for income earned from the UEFA European Football Championship final tournament.
Under the new scheme HatTrick III, which will run from 2012 to 2016, each national association will receive €3m as part of the overall investment programme and then a further €1.5m a year, over the four-year period, in solidarity payments that are linked to certain commitments – such as the implementation of the club licensing scheme, participation in non-top competitions, and membership of the UEFA Coaching Convention and UEFA Grassroots Charter. Consequently, the total amount payable per national association via HatTrick III is €9m, which represents an increase of more than 15% in comparison with HatTrick II.
Turning to women's football, the Executive Committee noted the huge growth in European women's football, both in terms of registered players and participation, and agreed to support the UEFA Women's Football Development Programme (WFDP) via a yearly payment of €100,000 between 2012 and 2016. This amount will come from HatTrick III payments.
On the club competition front, a change to the club competition calendar was agreed in order to alleviate the pressure in the winter months. For the 2012-15 cycle, the UEFA Europa League Matchdays 5 and 6 will no longer be held on exclusive weeks, but will instead be played on the same weeks as Matchdays 5 and 6 of the UEFA Champions League. The free weeks could serve as reserve dates for replays caused by adverse weather conditions.
The Executive Committee also approved a proposal from UEFA's Football Committee to introduce an award for players who reach 100 appearances for their national team. This award will act as an excellent promotion for national team football. The award will be retroactive, and more information will follow in due course.
Finally, and based on the successful experiment which is ongoing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, the Executive Committee agreed to request to FIFA and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) that the experiment with additional assistant referees be extended to include its deployment at the UEFA EURO 2012 final tournament.
The next meeting of the Executive Committee will take place in Nyon, Switzerland, on 27 and 28 January 2011.