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National associations meet virtually to continue growing the game

UEFA Grow webinar featuring all 55 national associations demonstrates UEFA solidarity in delivering on its mission - despite logistical challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.

National associations meet virtually to continue growing the game
National associations meet virtually to continue growing the game ©UEFA.com

Football may have come to a sudden standstill in recent months, but a UEFA webinar involving all 55 member associations has underlined how Europe’s football community continues its efforts to develop and grow the game .

The virtual meeting, staged by UEFA’s Grow programme in late May, united more than 270 representatives from all of Europe’s national associations.

“It was impressive to welcome so many members of the football community to join us on the UEFA Grow webinar,” said Karl-Erik Nilsson, UEFA first vice-president.

“We are living in changing times without the opportunity to meet face to face, and longing for the opportunity to see more live football, but we are fortunate to be able to use technology to discuss matters, inspire each other and keep working for the growth of European football.”

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) topped the virtual meeting’s agenda sharing its approach to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as explaining its impressive progress on and off the field in recent years.

In addition, representatives from the national associations for Russia and Norway explained how they have successfully engaged with their communities during the on-going COVID-19 crisis. Both have broken new ground in successfully delivering commercial partner rights without being able to stage live football matches.

Collaboration and community

Participants committed to continuing their online meetings in the second half of 2020 – a strong sign of the collaboration and community that has embodied European football’s reaction to the global pandemic.

“We had planned to host the UEFA Grow Conference and Awards later this year in October, but this will change to a series of online webinars, and we are delighted that this online forum can be used effectively for our members,” said Mr. Nilsson.

“Last year, we launched Football Federations for the Future (see below), which mapped out how our federations should look by 2024, and even in this challenging period I am delighted that so many federations are creating that crucial roadmap.”

Portugal in prime position

Since the FPF reviewed its long-term strategies in 2012, Portuguese national teams have lifted both the UEFA EURO 2016 and UEFA Nations League titles, become UEFA Futsal champions in 2018 and are reigning world beach soccer champion.

Other notable successes include the opening of the country’s City of Football complex close to Lisbon in March 2016. The building, which was funded in part by UEFA’s Hat-Trick programme houses the FPF’s headquarters and technical centre.

In 2018, the FPF also became the first UEFA federation to launch its own university, the Portugal Football School, which today delivers 90 courses to more than 2500 graduates.

Portugal’s five steps to success

- Long-term strategic vision

- Attract participation

- A winning environment

- Grow the brand

- Commitment to communities

Tiago Craveiro, CEO of Portuguese FA (FPF), said: “It was an honour to be able to share our experiences with our friends from other European associations.

“A country like Portugal needs to differentiate itself. We will never have as many players as Germany, England or Spain, but with a clear objective, investment in our people and a commitment to social improvement, we have enjoyed many successes and can look to the future with confidence.”

Background: What is Football Federations of the Future?

Football Federations of the Future was launched at the 2019 UEFA Grow conference in Madrid. It is a framework for UEFA’s 55 member national associations to help them plan for the challenges that lie ahead across 14 key areas.

Developed alongside associations and 40 industry experts, it enables national associations to establish their own vision and set the strategic direction for the future of football in their own country.

Since its launch, the programme has proven to be a powerful business development tool, supporting national associations of all sizes and levels of resource, and acting as a springboard to develop new strategies or as a stress test against existing policies

Find out more about UEFA Grow here.