UEFA's President and Executive Committee put sporting values first in 2009/10 in pursuing three key goals: protection of young players, financial fair play and organising UEFA EURO 2012.
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The UEFA Executive Committee has taken a busy period in its stride and sought to give priority to sporting values in the 2009/10 period covered by the report presented to the XXXV Ordinary UEFA Congress in Paris on Tuesday.
"The Executive Committee, whose composition remained unchanged throughout this election-free period, was able to work with greater unity and continuity, fulfilling its vast remit in the spirit of the 11 principles adopted at the 2009 UEFA Congress in Copenhagen," the UEFA President and Executive Committee report said. "With consultation as its preferred approach, it endeavoured, in all its decision-making, always to give priority to sporting values, in accordance with the first of the 11 principles: Football First.
"It also continued to pursue the three main objectives it had set itself at its first meeting of 2009: the protection of young footballers, financial fair play in the UEFA club competitions and the organisation of UEFA EURO 2012. The fight against corruption, as well as against racism and all forms of discrimination, was also waged relentlessly and the Respect campaign, launched at UEFA EURO 2008, continued to grow.
"The Executive Committee also did its utmost to consolidate football's position in society by strengthening its social involvement and stepping up dialogue with political authorities and all stakeholders of European football, not only the national associations but also the clubs, leagues, players and even supporters. The Executive Committee also closely monitored the activities of UEFA's 19 standing committees.
"As regards preparations for [UEFA] EURO 2012, the Executive Committee remained faithful to the strategy it adopted when appointing Poland and Ukraine as joint hosts in April 2007," the report said. "It used all available means, including visits at the highest level, to support the host associations, to encourage them in their work and to urge the authorities to do everything possible to ensure that the work was completed on time, in spite of the economic crisis that hit both host countries hard."
The report covers innovative changes in the UEFA Champions League, such as the access list and final day. "The final was moved from Wednesday to Saturday so that more families and children could watch it, either in the stadium or on television," it said. "This also created new promotional opportunities and the possibility of holding a week-long festival of football, in which grassroots, women's and youth football were able to play their part."
The new UEFA Europa League went from strength to strength, and the period was also notable for the appointment of the French Football Federation (FFF) to host UEFA EURO 2016 – which will be the first UEFA European Football Championship final tournament to be played with 24 teams.
Refereeing was also a key area of activity during the period under review with the continuing experiment with additional assistant referees, and the creation of a Centre of Refereeing Excellence in Nyon, Switzerland, to improve the training of young European match officials.
"Relations with its member associations are at the heart of UEFA's activities," the report reflects. UEFA's Congress, regular meetings, visits to national associations by the UEFA President and Executive Committee members, the input of association representatives on UEFA committees, the Top Executive Programme aimed at senior FA officials, the technical exchanges under the UEFA Study Group Scheme and the invaluable assistance given to the associations under the HatTrick programme all strengthen this crucial bond.
"Relations with the European Union remain extremely important for UEFA, which continued to strengthen the links between the two organisations," the report explained. UEFA's president and the body's senior officials maintained continual dialogue with the European authorities, and in particular were able to explain UEFA's concerns and policies through visits, meetings and presentations.
UEFA also cultivated its relations with public authorities, without which it would be powerless to act in fields as important and sensitive as the fight against fraud linked to illegal sports betting." The report stressed UEFA's desire to continue its commitment to social responsibility, especially through long-term partnerships, as well as the unstinting fight to rid football of the evil of racism.