UEFA President proud of united front

UEFA President Michel Platini was delighted to have "unified all the football family here in Istanbul" at the conclusion of a successful UEFA Congress in Turkey.

Michel Platini addresses the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Istanbul
Michel Platini addresses the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Istanbul ©UEFA.com

UEFA President Michel Platini has warmly greeted the unity that has prevailed within the European football family at the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Istanbul – reflected in the signing of three important memorandums of understanding between UEFA and major European football stakeholders.

New memorandums were signed on Thursday with the European Club Association (ECA), which comprises 201 European clubs; the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and the players' union FIFPro Division Europe.

Mr Platini signed the ECA memorandum with ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who described the event as "a historic day for European club football". The agreements are set to provide renewed stability for European football in the coming years.

“This Congress was based on the sign of football unity between the national associations, and unity with the clubs, leagues and players," said Mr Platini. "I am very happy today to have unified all the football family here in Istanbul."

The UEFA President has made the creation of harmony within European football one of the cornerstones of his work since he came to office in 2007. "I always said when I became President of UEFA that I wanted to reunite the football family, and stop the wars going on before the courts," he explained.

"We took time, we worked and discussed and we have prepared a new agreement [with the ECA] from 2012 to 2018 – and this is something that delights me.

"A process was started up, and today it was accepted unanimously by the national associations. This gave me great pleasure. It means that we were able to get the message through that we initiated some years ago."

Both Mr Platini and Mr Rummenigge expressed their satisfaction to the Congress, attended by UEFA's 53 member national associations and guests from the sporting and political world. The memorandums signed in Istanbul, said the UEFA President, were "a sign of restored, consolidated unity; a sign that European football is one indivisible whole".

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino also emphasised to the Congress that the creation in 2007 of the Professional Football Strategy Council had been an important step forward. The council comprises representatives of the ECA, EPFL, FIFPro Division Europe and UEFA and discusses European football matters of mutual interest.