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UEFA Congress: a simple guide

The 44th Ordinary UEFA Congress takes place in Amsterdam on Tuesday. Our quick guide tells you everything you need to know about Europe's football parliament.

The UEFA Congress - Europe's football parliament
The UEFA Congress - Europe's football parliament ©UEFA.com

What is the UEFA Congress?

The UEFA Congress is Europe’s equivalent of a football parliament. It brings together presidents and general secretaries representing each of UEFA’s 55 member associations to make decisions that help shape European football.

Amsterdam is hosting the 2020 UEFA Congress
Amsterdam is hosting the 2020 UEFA Congress©iStock

Participants discuss and vote on decisions, measures and proposals from both UEFA and member associations. The one-day meeting is chaired by UEFA’s President Aleksander Čeferin who, following his election in 2016, was re-elected by acclamation for a second term – this time lasting four years – at last year’s Congress in Rome.

How often does the Congress take place?

Hosted by one of UEFA’s member associations, the Ordinary Congress convenes once every year. If needed, an Extraordinary Congress can be called by UEFA’s Executive Committee, or at the written request of one-fifth or more of the UEFA member associations.

A second Ordinary Congress can also be called by the UEFA Executive Committee to deal with financial matters and/or matters of particular significance.

Why does the UEFA Congress matter?

Decisions taken at the UEFA Congress help shape European football
Decisions taken at the UEFA Congress help shape European football©UEFA via Getty Images

The UEFA Congress may grab fewer headlines than a UEFA Champions League or EURO final, but its decisions impact football far beyond the pitch – and not just because it elects UEFA’s President every four years.

In recent events, the Congress has passed resolutions tackling match-fixing and corruption in football (2014) and emphasising European football's commitment to combating racism (2013), as well as admitting Kosovo into the European football community (2016). Last year, the Congress approved UEFA’s current overall strategy, which will guide the development and governance of the beautiful game across the continent for the next five years.

What else will happen in Amsterdam this week?

The Johan Cruijff ArenA will host four matches at UEFA EURO 2020
The Johan Cruijff ArenA will host four matches at UEFA EURO 2020©UEFA

This year’s UEFA Congress heralds an exciting period for European football. The event takes place 100 days before the start of UEFA EURO 2020, a unique tournament which is being staged for the first time ever in 12 cities across Europe to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UEFA European Championship. Amsterdam’s Johan Cruijff ArenA will play host to three group matches and a round of 16 encounter at this summer’s tournament, while seven of the 12 host countries will be staging matches in the EURO finals for the first time.

Portugal celebrate winning the inaugural UEFA Nations League title
Portugal celebrate winning the inaugural UEFA Nations League title©Sportsfile

Alongside the EURO 2020 milestone, another premium national-team football event takes place in the Dutch capital after the Congress on Tuesday evening – the League Phase draw for the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League, following the competition’s successful inaugural edition in 2018/19. 

Ahead of Tuesday’s Congress, UEFA’s Executive Committee convenes in Amsterdam on Monday for its first meeting of the year.

What are the powers of the UEFA Congress?

The Congress elects the UEFA President, UEFA Executive Committee members and European members of the FIFA Council. The agenda includes the following items:

• election of UEFA’s auditing body

• amendment of the UEFA Statutes

• discussion and decision on proposals

• receipt and consideration of the annual UEFA President and Executive Committee report, as well as the annual UEFA administration report

• acknowledgement of the UEFA financial report and auditors' report

• approval of UEFA’s annual accounts, as well as the UEFA annual budget for the coming period

UEFA's 55 member associations meet with UEFA at the Congress to discuss and vote upon decisions, measures and proposals
UEFA's 55 member associations meet with UEFA at the Congress to discuss and vote upon decisions, measures and proposals©UEFA.com

In addition, as needed, Congress considers:

• member associations’ applications for UEFA membership, or even the exclusion of an association. It can also decide to lift or continue the suspension of a member association, UEFA Executive Committee member or a member of another body.

• proposals for the dismissal of a UEFA Executive Committee member or members of the UEFA disciplinary bodies, (Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, Appeals Body); the ethics and disciplinary inspectors; and the Club Financial Control Body

• the award of honorary UEFA membership to a person for outstanding service to European football

Where are the official documents setting out the role of Congress?

Read Articles 12 to 20 of the UEFA Statutes and the UEFA Congress Rules of Procedure.

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