UEFA good governance principles for associations

UEFA is helping its 55 member associations to strengthen their work, strategies and activities by proposing a set of good governance principles for them to consider for implementation in their own countries.

The relationship between UEFA and its member associations has been a cornerstone of UEFA's activities for more than 60 years
The relationship between UEFA and its member associations has been a cornerstone of UEFA's activities for more than 60 years ©UEFA

Effective governance is a key element in ensuring that football authorities function properly – and UEFA is ready to help its 55 member associations to reinforce and develop good governance practices in their own countries.

The UEFA Executive Committee has given the green light to a set of ten good governance principles and management rules drawn up by the European governing body.

These principles are now being recommended to each association as a means of strengthening their everyday work, policies, visions and strategies – with the overall well-being of European football in mind.

UEFA believes that the implementation of sound good governance principles by its member associations is of prime importance, and has been hard at work over the last year compiling principles that are possible to apply across Europe.

Consequently, the associations are being encouraged to fully adopt the principles.

UEFA is also taking great pains to emphasise that the fundamental organisational autonomy of each association must be preserved and respected at the same time.

UEFA's Executive Committee has given the green light to the good governance proposals
UEFA's Executive Committee has given the green light to the good governance proposals©UEFA

The ten UEFA good governance principles are comprehensive and wide-ranging, and cover the broad spectrum of a football association’s activities and operations.

Firstly, it is felt that in addition to running day-to-day business, the associations should have a clear, transparent business strategy, reviewable on a regular basis and with measurable objectives – also meaning that the association’s top management and bodies are fully accountable for their actions.

Each association is also being advised to revise and modernise their statutes, with recommendations to establish fixed terms and/or age limits for presidents and board members, avoid excessive power being concentrated in single persons, ensure balanced gender representation and guarantee free elections, regular stakeholder consultation and proper definition of senior roles and powers.

Sound ethical values, solid integrity rules and good governance should be laid down as priority objectives in associations’ statutes, and disciplinary bodies should be protected from outside interference. Associations are being encouraged to invest in appropriate communication, training and education programmes for staff and other interested parties.

The crucial decision-making role of committees is also addressed, with associations urged to ensure that there are clear stipulations regarding the work, responsibilities and composition of every committee.

Administrations running associations’ day-to-day business should be protected from undue political interference, and open, clear and transparent hiring processes are seen as essential to ensure the quality and credibility of staff – thereby protecting an FA’s overall interests.

Accountability is a major component of the UEFA principles being offered to associations – double signatory systems, proper risk management programmes, appropriate tender processes and clear budget and responsibility definition are all deemed as essential assets for the future.

The need for transparency is highlighted as part of UEFA’s principles, especially in financial matters.

Associations would be in a position to project a good image and ensure greater protection against accusations of mismanagement if they are able to operate an open, transparent policy in this area.

Another recommendation being made by UEFA in its principles is that the associations implement a strong compliance policy and culture to guarantee that statutes and regulations are being adhered to.

Aspects such as respect/fair play, health and safety, equality, diversity, protection of minors and human rights should be reflected in the FA’s strategy and operations, while campaigns against racism/discrimination, match-fixing and doping should be an integral good governance instrument.

Finally, UEFA’s good governance principles also stress that an association’s overall goal should be to stimulate participation in football – through effective grassroots policies and volunteer programmes boosting active involvement, especially among young people – enhancing an association’s public standing and image and creating strong foundations for football development.

UEFA will organise regional workshops in the upcoming seasons, with the aim of addressing these principles and providing support to the national associations in their implementation process.