Safeguarding the integrity of the game

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino tells the UEFA•direct publication why the organisation will continue to uphold the values of integrity and fair play in European football.

Football's integrity must be preserved
Football's integrity must be preserved ©Getty Images

Unity of time, place and action. These three unities are the keys to the success of classical theatre, and of football too, but with the advantage in the case of football that – as lovers of the game would point out – there is no knowing how it is going to end.

In this three-dimensional setting, our sport has become an outlet for passions and emotions and has gained universal appeal – so universal, however, that it attracts not only fans but unfortunately also the attention of criminal networks. These networks have three pillars of their own but they are diametrically opposed, since they operate all the time, everywhere and using all possible means, causing dark clouds to hang over the integrity of football competitions.

The specificity of sport should not be used as a weapon to deal with evils that are certainly not unique to sport, such as these illicit circles which unfortunately have acquired a taste for the beautiful game. Preserving the integrity of our competitions is becoming more complex every day, and we are not betraying our values if, in order to do so, we forge alliances both within the sports community and outside – with judicial authorities, for example.

Above all, we must keep our heads held high. And above the three classical unities, it is unity pure and simple that is the most important.

UEFA takes its job as a protector of football seriously. It will continue to promote the values of integrity and fair play relentlessly in order to preserve the glorious uncertainty of our game.

The latest issue of UEFA•direct is available here.