Some of the game's most decorated former players have gathered at UEFA headquarters in Nyon to discuss key issues around European football.
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Some of the game's most decorated former players have gathered at UEFA headquarters in Nyon to discuss a number of important issues around European football.
A host of big names including Esteban Cambiasso, Michael Essien, Célia Šašić, Florent Malouda, Ricardo Carvalho, Christian Karembeu, Steve McManaman, Laura Georges, Luis García and Jerzy Dudek attended the UEFA ambassador round table. The event, held on Monday 17 December, is designed to stimulate debate, with the resulting feedback helping UEFA to refine and improve European football in all areas.
The former players in attendance have represented the biggest clubs in the world and won the biggest prizes in the game, gathering unparalleled insights and knowledge in the process. The meeting, chaired by UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti and UEFA football advisor Luís Figo, covered a broad range of subjects including the away goals rule, simulation, VAR, competition formats and the match calendar.
Célia Šašić, a two-time UEFA Women's EURO winner with Germany, believes the input of current and former professionals is crucial. "It's very important to have these discussions. A player knows best how a player feels – so if we want to improve the game, we have to hear their ideas.
"Every topic was interesting, and it's never black and white," Šašić added. "There were different opinions across the different players, sometimes based on the country you're from or the country you've played in."
Giorgio Marchetti described the meeting as "vital" and believes there is still room to develop the programme, adding: "We started having these discussions with players a year ago and I think it has to become a regular feature so that we can have continuous exchanges and feedback. The debate was very lively and everybody participated, with some interesting opinions expressed."