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EXCO looks to football's future

UEFA's Executive Committee has warned that the European game can only secure its future wellbeing by avoiding excesses and respecting its social role.

UEFA's Executive Committee has issued the warning that European football can only guarantee its future wellbeing by restoring confidence in the game, by steering clear of excesses and by doing justice to its social role.

Solidarity critical
In its report to the XXXI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Dusseldorf, presented on Friday, the Executive Committee said that football had been "tainted by cases of bribery and corruption, betting and match-fixing, not to mention scourges such as racism and violence". The report continued: "Football in Europe can only guarantee its long-term prosperity by restoring general confidence in it, by shunning excesses and by fully assuming its social role. More than ever, football must be guided by solidarity in the coming years."

Sporting and financial balance
The Executive Committee also promised measures based on the recommendations of the Independent European Sport Review, issued last year and which has UEFA's full commitment. "In its conclusions, the independent review of European sport suggested interesting ways to stabilise European football," the committee said, "and UEFA will spare no effort to ensure that this report does not remain mere theory but is converted into measures aimed at establishing a fair balance between sporting values and financial considerations, the former always taking priority, in accordance with the UEFA statutes and the Vision Europe strategy adopted by the 2005 UEFA Congress."

Players and fans crucial
The committee described players and supporters as "the cornerstones of our game" and it concluded: "The players, who entertain the fans often to such a high level and are such a source of inspiration, deserve the best possible playing conditions. In return, it is the supporters who generate the players' popularity and financial wellbeing; it is their interest and passion that attract television and sponsors.

Supporting cast praised
"To satisfy both the players and the spectators, a host of experts, not to mention volunteers, work tirelessly at the clubs, national associations and in other bodies to make sure that matches run smoothly and properly, in a safe environment and with facilities of the appropriate quality. It is to all these people that the Executive Committee wishes to express its gratitude and assure them that it will continue to support them by working in the general interest of football."