The launch of UEFA’s business development framework will see UEFA and associations from across Europe working closely to exchange best strategies in and outside of the footballing world in order to develop and evolve together.
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The recent annual UEFA GROW Conference in Madrid saw national associations from across the continent come together to discuss best practices and success stories they have experienced in their drive to develop the business side of their organisations.
“This conference is very important for our relationships with other national federations and at the same time, with UEFA,” said the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales.
“We for example at the Spanish FA, we are finishing now, our first strategic plan in our history and this is possible because UEFA is helping us and we have an incredible gratitude to UEFA for this.”
Since its inception in 2015, UEFA GROW has been helping national associations across the continent to promote and develop football around Europe by using fact-based research, market intelligence and industry experts to create strategic plans and building capacity for growing the game.
However, UEFA GROW is now looking to move one step further by introducing Football Federations of the Future.
Why has Football Federations of the Future been introduced?
It is UEFA’s responsibility to stay on top of the challenges that lie ahead and ensure that further sustainable football development in Europe. Football Federations of the Future is aimed at giving UEFA, along with these stakeholders, a platform to develop strategies and enhance performance in order to address crucial facets of the game, such as how to increase participation, how to maximise their business potential and how to build strong relationships with the fans.
“The world is changing, and football must adapt to these changes if it is to satisfy the future needs of its many stakeholders,” said UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin.
“To achieve this, we must be bold in our thinking. We must possess a clarity of purpose that will enable us to establish a vision that defines and articulates our ambition for the future of football across Europe. In doing so, we will be able to reach even greater heights and further strengthen football’s place within European society.”
Football Federations of the Future recognises that each national association is unique, in terms of its size, level of resources, individual strategic priorities and the wider socio-economic and cultural environment in which it operates, and that the national associations themselves understand best how to grow football in their own countries.
This strategic framework has been developed in collaboration with all 55 UEFA member associations along with input from over 40 industry representatives and a similar number of external consultants from across the business, corporate and sporting worlds.
Enhancing support for national associations
Football Federations of the Future is the long-term vision for the existing UEFA GROW programme, which was established in 2015 with the aim of systematically and strategically growing European football in partnership with national associations.
UEFA GROW has since been implemented across UEFA’s member associations and offers tailor-made strategic services in the areas most relevant for football organisations – from building a better image of football or engaging with the entire football community to increasing revenue opportunities and getting more people, from more parts of society, to play, attend, follow and ultimately fall in love with the game.
Football Federations of the Future will build on this approach by creating a clear, easy-to-follow framework for how associations can best grow football in their respective countries.
“After working with the 55 national associations in UEFA and after consulting with experts from within football and outside football, Football Federations of the Future is a framework which UEFA GROW has developed,” said UEFA Executive Committee First vice-president Karl-Erik Nielsen.
“Football Federations of the Future is an excellent tool which asks us to consider how we work, the values we hold, our behaviour, to check with our values and behaviours are aligned in society today and of course with the values that our sport aspires to promote. With a clear vision of a successful future, by establishing an evolving support across 14 pillars, UEFA GROW will continue to serve the national associations with the best internal and external expertise in the industry.”
Football Federations of the Future has adopted a process of structured self-assessment, which is facilitated with support from UEFA. This process will help national associations of varying size, level of resource and circumstance to evaluate their current performance across core areas of their business, ranging from brand and participation to revenues and financial sustainability.
They will also be able to use the resulting analysis as the basis for creating an exciting and inspiring vision that will define how they need to develop during the coming years.
Plotting a vision for the future
National associations will have a number of opportunities to collaborate through Football Federations of the Future. This can be achieved through regional groups, where they will have the opportunity to discuss important topics such as business insights, media rights and strategic planning, as well as the chance to learn from each other’s challenges and successes.
Established frameworks will help the national associations have even closer collaboration with UEFA to achieve their own objectives and to ensure further sustainable growth of football in Europe. It will allow more structured and tailored access to UEFA’s extensive internal expertise, knowledge, leading industry experts and professionals to support their daily work.
In establishing this vision, Football Federations of the Future will create a platform for greater collaboration with national associations to support the implementation of UEFA’s strategic plan, which was launched in February 2019.