UEFA’s 55 member associations unite to write the future

UEFA GROW consults with all 55 national associations on ‘Football Federations of the Future’ vision at Warsaw workshop.

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The European football landscape is constantly evolving and growing. Preparing for continual change is vitally important for UEFA’s GROW programme and Europe’s national associations. At a keynote workshop in Warsaw last week, attended by all 55 UEFA member associations, UEFA GROW presented a new vision for the future that provides them with a roadmap for development and success.

Warsaw workshop introduced new 'Football Federations of the Future' vision
Warsaw workshop introduced new 'Football Federations of the Future' vision©PZPN


UEFA GROW already supports national associations to develop across a number of key areas – improving the image of the game, engaging with larger audiences, getting more people to play football and boosting revenues. The programme also supports the associations in helping them to create an overall strategic plan, which is strengthened by strong brands, effective communications and government support.

"UEFA GROW has been a fantastic tool for the Portuguese Football Federation," said Nuno Moura, the association’s chief marketing officer. "It has really helped us to accelerate our efforts in regards to the image of the association, the levels of participation, the revenues that we are generating and overall fan engagement."

"The UEFA GROW programme has enhanced our ability to gain more revenues from commercial partnerships," he added. "It’s been a fantastic year for us. We’ve been able to increase revenue generated by commercial deals by more than 30% compared to the last cycle."

'Football Federations of the Future'

Now UEFA GROW wants to go a step further by offering the national associations a road map to sustainable success over the next five years. This vision is called ‘Football Federations of the Future’ and it will look to develop plans to optimise the potential of football at each of the national associations in a number of different areas.

To help them achieve this, industry experts with both sporting and non-sporting backgrounds will come together to fashion a future for European football that will see the national association’s accelerate their off the field performance.

GROW workshop was attended by all 55 national associations
GROW workshop was attended by all 55 national associations©PZPN


"We want to bring football to a completely new level, which takes into account a rapidly changing culture and demographics, so that we can build an even more successful future for the sport in Europe," said UEFA’s head of national association’s business development Noel Mooney.

"This is a significant change in how we approach the development of European football, and it will be our first strategic and systematic growth plan for all national associations. We have consulted with our national associations to understand and agree the best approach to develop football and we are looking forward to an exciting journey ahead," Mooney added.

Football Federations of the Future aims to show UEFA’s footballing family working at its best. Regional groups of national associations will work closely together to exchange best practices and evolve together. These groups will also discuss important topics such as insights, media rights and strategic planning, as well as providing opportunities to learn from each other’s successes.

"The GROW programme is fantastic, because it addresses the issues you have in every market, whether you are a small market or a big market, or a small association or a big association," said Mikael Jiffer, head of marketing and sales at the Swedish Football Association (SvFF).

"In Sweden, we have had a lot of help from the GROW programme, and the resources, the knowledge and the competence gives us a lot of opportunities that we would not have had without GROW."

Helping the game to flourish

Poland, who hosted the workshop in Warsaw, have been a shining example of how UEFA GROW has helped a country to develop its football. Poland was one of the first countries to embrace the UEFA-backed programme, and the Polish Football Federation (PZPN) has been making big strides to boost the sport’s popularity.

The PZPN wants over one million people to play football by 2022
The PZPN wants over one million people to play football by 2022©Sportsfile

The organisation is hiring 48 people (three in every region of the country) to work on increasing participation. The PZPN currently has around 400,000 registered players, but the aim is to increase this number to over one million by 2022.

"Without funding, it's impossible to implement good projects, but we've also benefited from UEFA's expertise," said PZPN general secretary Maciej Sawicki. "The people at UEFA provide support by giving us the benefit of their know-how and experience, helping us improve our projects and make them really effective."

From Iceland to Israel, success stories inspired by UEFA GROW are already starting to emerge across the continent, reflected by increasing participation rates and higher revenues in certain markets. Now the programme is counting on its progressive members to help shape the future, and ensure that football across Europe becomes even stronger.

“I am delighted by the enthusiasm from all the 55 national associations to grow the game,” said Mooney. “The willingness of the federations to work together for the good of the game is without doubt crucial for the long-term health of football in Europe.”