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Commissioner's visit points to positive partnership

Further positive developments in the UEFA-EU dialogue came into focus when the European Commission's communication on sport was explained to UEFA's Executive Committee.

EU commissioner Androulla Vassiliou attends Friday's UEFA Executive Committee meeting
EU commissioner Androulla Vassiliou attends Friday's UEFA Executive Committee meeting ©UEFA.com

The UEFA president, Michel Platini, and the UEFA Executive Committee have met in Nyon with the EU commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, Androulla Vassiliou – with recent positive developments in the dialogue between UEFA and the European political authorities up for discussion.

Androulla Vassiliou explained the background and key aspects of the European Commission's communication on sport, which was issued last week, and which gives solid backing to a considerable number of UEFA's activities and policies.

"It was a very important visit, because it was the first time that a European commissioner has visited UEFA," said UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino. "The discussions were very interesting and lively, and a real exchange between the commissioner, who represents the European Union, and the UEFA Executive Committee, the executive of the governing body of European football.

"Overall, the communication is very positive. We think we have established an excellent partnership with the European Commission and with the European Union," Mr Infantino added. "The communication was welcomed by the UEFA president and UEFA Executive Committee, because it underlines many of the values and topics that we are currently working on."

These include UEFA's financial fair play measures, the European sports model, centralised marketing of media rights and the campaign against illegal betting and corruption in the game. "It is a crucial new document for the European Union, and shows how the European Union will act on these questions," said the UEFA general secretary.

Click here for UEFA.com's interview with Gianni Infantino on the European Commission communication on sport.

Mr Infantino also explained UEFA's position following correspondence this week between world football's governing body FIFA and the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU), relating to, as a UEFA statement said, "interference by representatives of the state authorities in the running of the association".

"Political interference is prohibited by the FIFA and UEFA statutes, and this is something that we cannot allow," said Mr Infantino. "We have written a letter today to the Football Federation of Ukraine, requesting that necessary concrete steps are taken, that confirmation is provided to us that this interference has ceased, and that the operations of the federation can continue in a normal way.

"They will have to confirm this by 4 February," he added, explaining that the UEFA Executive Committee would have to take a decision if any interference continued. A suspension would mean that Ukrainian clubs would not be able to participate in UEFA competitions. National teams would also be suspended from official European competitions.

"It is also clear," the UEFA general secretary said, "that if the Football Federation of Ukraine is suspended from membership of UEFA, then it was the unanimous view of the Executive Committee that it would not be tenable to play the EURO 2012 final round in Ukraine. But we are confident, of course, that this situation can be solved very swiftly, and to the satisfaction of everyone."

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