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EU links vital for Olsson

UEFA CEO Lars-Christer Olsson has said that UEFA's relations with the European Union are crucial in the way forward for European football's governing body.

UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson has outlined that UEFA's relations with the European Union are crucial in helping the way forward for European football's governing body.

Review crucial
In his report to the XXXI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Dusseldorf, presented on Friday, Mr Olsson said that a key moment in UEFA's recent activities had been the publication of the Independent European Sport Review last May. The CEO said that the review had been "a milestone in the process that was initiated already some time ago, with the objective of achieving recognition of the autonomy and role of sports authorities and a stable legal environment for them to operate in".

Improving relations
"UEFA's relations with the European Union are crucial in this respect," Mr Olsson continued, "and we are pleased to report that this situation has continued to improve, characterised by a mutual desire for understanding and clarification." Mr Olsson also spoke of the efforts being undertaken by UEFA to strengthen its links with all sections of the European footballing community. "Relations within the football family are also being developed all the time, to ensure that every stakeholder can have their voice heard," he said.

Associations strengthened
The CEO spoke of UEFA's desire to reinforce the position of the European national associations – "reflected by intense activity in the Top Executive Programme, alongside the work being done to ensure the smooth implementation of the HatTrick [assistance] programme and the effectiveness of all the measures adopted to improve the quality of European football, whether at the level of technical development, infrastructure, club licensing, grassroots football or refereeing."

Merged reports
The report of the Chief Executive and the UEFA Executive Committee, and the UEFA financial report have this year been combined into one single document. Ordinary UEFA congresses, which have been held annually since 2003, have been brought forward to the start of the year. By scheduling congresses earlier in the calendar year, the reporting period now runs from 1 July to 30 June – thereby synchronising it more closely with the UEFA competition season. Since activities in the second half of 2005 were covered in the reports presented to the 2006 UEFA Congress in Budapest, this year’s report concerns only the first half of 2006.