UEFA is committed to guaranteeing the rights of individuals who lack the financial means to properly defend themselves in disciplinary proceedings.
For this reason, UEFA has introduced the concept of legal aid into the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (Article 39).
A key component of this legal aid is the provision of pro bono counsel to assist individuals in proceedings before the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body and the Appeals Body.
If the assistance of a pro bono counsel is requested and granted, the applicant may choose a counsel from the list drawn up by the UEFA administration.
Following a thorough selection process, the UEFA administration currently has a list of eight qualified lawyers who serve as pro bono counsel.
All of those lawyers are independent, have appropriate experience and expertise, as well as adequate availability, and are based in convenient locations. For the avoidance of doubt, UEFA is not responsible for the services and advice that pro bono counsel provide to their clients.
All pro bono counsel are required to act in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and honesty at all times in the performance of their duties. They must not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to third parties that could influence them in the performance of their duties, and they must declare any conflicts of interest before accepting an appointment.
In principle, pro bono counsel remain on UEFA’s list for four years. However, the UEFA administration may amend that list at any time at its own discretion (for example, where a pro bono counsel has been inactive or in order to ensure greater geographical coverage).
It should be noted that, as indicated in the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, applicants for legal aid must email reasoned requests and supporting documents to UEFA’s disciplinary and integrity unit (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Depending on an applicant’s needs, legal aid may be provided as follows:
(i) The applicant may be released from having to pay the costs of proceedings.
(ii) The applicant may be allowed to select a pro bono counsel from the list established by the UEFA administration.
(iii) The applicant’s own reasonable travel and accommodation costs and those of witnesses and experts called to testify may be covered by UEFA (which will also cover the travel and accommodation costs of any pro bono counsel chosen from the list).
Further conditions and requirements associated with legal aid and pro bono counsel may be communicated by circular letter.