The UEFA Intelligence Centre was created in 2017 with the primary goal of assisting policy-makers and decision-takers to make informed decisions and judgments. Football is a global cultural phenomenon and European football is at the heart of this. UEFA policy-makers and decision-takers are charged with steering European football during a time of unprecedented global interest for the game, and a rapidly changing environment of technology and consumer behaviour. While the basic essence of the sport remains simple on the pitch, it is anything but simple off it.
The UEFA Intelligence Centre brings together technical expertise with data science, financial and commercial modelling, and econometricist experience. It provides a place to understand the present as well as to look forward and plan for the future – turning the wealth of data at its disposal into insights. By building and linking databases covering everything from club and national association finances to club ownership and league formats, from transfer activity and sporting results to media and commercial rights, from stadium profiles to player and head coach data across all 55 UEFA territories and further afield, the Intelligence Centre is meeting UEFA's objective of having the most comprehensive research centre in football.
More importantly, by performing the analysis in-house rather than outsourcing it, UEFA can fully capture this strategic knowledge and remain extremely agile in approaching research projects and assessing policy alternatives. UEFA is now better placed to generate insights, model the potential outcomes of decisions, anticipate issues before they arise, place challenges in context, and identify policy options, thus improving decision-making and the communication of those decisions.
The 125-page European Club Footballing Landscape report provides a flavour of some of these research areas and gives some important insights into the direction of European club football. It is widely relied upon by stakeholders to measure the pulse of club finances.
The Intelligence Centre constantly monitors another highly topical issue, the competitive balance within domestic and cross-border football competitions. The statistical analysis of hundreds of thousands of matches, and the evolution of each league season across Europe reaching back decades, combined with objective information such as the financial strength of participating teams, allows a properly balanced, measured and nuanced picture to be built up for this complex and broad area.
The decision of the UEFA Executive Committee to create the Intelligence Centre will no doubt help UEFA leverage the unparalleled bank of knowledge and experience that the body has built up in recent years through running some of the world’s most successful sports competitions. It is an important step to help UEFA remain a forward-looking, innovative and collaborative organisation, as the football and wider societal landscape changes.
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