Positive discussions at second UEFA Convention on the Future of European Football underline common way forward on main priorities
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UEFA hosted the latest Convention on the Future of European Football from 9-10 November in Nyon. Stakeholders from across the entire football community – national football associations, leagues, clubs, players, coaches, fans, agents, commercial partners and policymakers – held successful discussions focussed on strengthening women’s football, competitiveness and governance.
The Convention is a consultation process uniting European football to work on long-term policy and governance reforms needed to build a sustainable future for football that benefits everyone. Welcoming representatives UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin recalled that “football dialogue can only exist where unity, inclusion solidarity and sporting merit are the common denominators” and highlighted the importance of using momentum from the huge success of the Women’s EURO 2022 (video).
Opening remarks from the European Club Association Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi emphasised the importance of caring for the interests and links between all levels of the football pyramid and all size of clubs, whilst stressing the need to uphold football’s unique bond with fans and communities (video).
European Leagues representative Mathieu Moreuil highlighted solidarity in the football community as paramount and underlined the strength of cooperation between stakeholders through recent crises as reason to be confident in joint efforts to improve European football’s already strong position (video).
European institutions have offered their support to the Convention as an inclusive and representative forum for discussion on the future of European football. Leading EU sport policy Member of the European Parliament and former professional football player Tomasz Frankowski called for a stop to the attempts of any breakaway competition and underlined that the organisation of sport in Europe must be based on solidarity and redistribution, with open competitions and sporting merit (video).
Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge praised the meeting as a good model for modern sports governance, welcomed the demonstration of unity and resolve, and appealed for an end to the distractions and narrow economic self-interest of the super league backers (video).
The participation in the Convention by many high-level stakeholders demonstrated that it is an open and progressive process that that is valued and appreciated by those involved.
There were positive and forward-looking exchanges amongst experts during three dedicated working sessions on competitiveness, women’s football and governance. Notably, the following was agreed:
• The Convention will become a permanent feature and evolve into an efficient, innovative and pragmatic platform to discuss altogether.
• UEFA will work towards creating more stakeholder-centred and action-oriented platforms of engagement to allow more contributions from the various stakeholders.
• A strong consensus was reached on the need to take stronger measures to increase gender balance in the higher instances of football’s decision-making levels.
• Competitive trends were analysed both at domestic and European level and, in the face of growing polarisation, vital themes such as financial redistribution/solidarity, quality youth players’ training and remuneration of training efforts, regulation and control of transfers and agents, regulation of multi-club investment were intensively discussed, identifying the need to work on all of them.
• The participants were the first to be consulted in the process to develop UEFA’s next women’s football strategy from 2024 onwards. Providing input into the future priorities of European women’s football considering the evolution of international and domestic competitions, the calendar, capacity building and structures, providing access to football, developing the grassroots game and increasing visibility and commercialisation. Stakeholders also agreed to closely collaborate on key issues to protect and grow the game to ensure its long-term sustainability.
• The recently increasing trend of multi-club investment/ownership was discussed with the aim to strengthen protection of integrity and competitiveness of domestic and European club competitions.
• Similarly, stakeholders agreed to assess the dynamics behind increasing private capital investment in European football in order to promote transparency, financial sustainability, integrity and good governance.
UEFA and the major European football stakeholders are committed to strengthening the foundations of European football now and for the future.