Vienna was the setting for the latest annual UEFA Integrity Officers workshop, which reviewed developments and examined challenges within the ongoing campaign to protect European football.
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UEFA brought together its network of Integrity Officers at a workshop in Vienna to discuss various current and future issues facing European football in the fight to protect and safeguard the game’s crucial integrity.
Since 2011, UEFA has held a yearly Integrity Officer workshop. This year’s event in the Austrian capital featured a wide range of topical presentations and intensive discussions on integrity matters that affect European football.
The workshop, hosted by the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB), was attended by over 60 participants, comprising Integrity Officers and other high-level representatives from UEFA’s national associations, including several general secretaries.
The number of attendees at the workshop highlighted the importance that UEFA and its associations place on fighting match-fixing and protecting the game. The two-day gathering looked at a series of key topics that enabled delegates to exchange views and ideas on how to take the fight against match-fixing forward throughout UEFA’s territory.
The workshop was opened by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, who sent a video message to the participants highlighting the importance of the role of the Integrity Officers in UEFA’s 55 member associations, who work at the forefront of the campaign to combat match-fixing. “UEFA and its members cannot be complacent in fighting match-fixing,” he said. “We must move forward. We must advance our techniques, our tactics, and our resolve in this battle.”
The opening day of the workshop saw UEFA present its overall strategy for 2019 to 2024, which was unveiled in February, as well as the series of good governance principles recently proposed by UEFA to its member associations to strengthen their work, strategies and activities. Another important item on the agenda was the integrity plan which will be put in place for the UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament next summer.
Developments in the legal and disciplinary sectors were other significant focal points, along with operational updates from national associations that emphasised in particular the important work being undertaken by UEFA’s Integrity Officers.
The day concluded with a new approach, featuring group-themed breakout sessions of “advanced” and “new” Integrity Officers, aimed at examining advanced thematic topics. Meanwhile, introductory sessions helped bring newly appointed Integrity Officers up to speed on the wide palette of core integrity concepts.
The “advanced”, more experienced Integrity Officers, who have formed the crucial knowledge centre and backbone of the Integrity Officer network over the years, provided UEFA with invaluable additional information regarding the specific challenges of fighting match-fixing across various jurisdictions.
On the second day of the workshop, the focus turned to best practices and ways forward, with Integrity Officers from national associations presenting successes and new initiatives in their own countries. The session wrapped up with UEFA and the Integrity Officers drafting a collective roadmap on how to come up with new and innovative ways to confront match-fixing across Europe.
The workshop was closed by ÖFB general secretary Thomas Hollerer, who is also a UEFA Appeals Body member and former UEFA Integrity Officer. “The workshop was a great opportunity for the Integrity Officers to strengthen their network, and for best practices to be exchanged among the national associations,” he reflected. “Cooperation both at national and international levels is a key aspect in the fight against match-fixing.”
The campaign against match-fixing has been a constant priority for UEFA, which has been running extensive integrity activities in a bid to rid football of the scourge of match manipulation and corruption. European football’s governing body has developed - and funds - a number of initiatives designed to protect the integrity of the game on this continent, including the extensive Integrity Officer network.
Click here to read about UEFA’s integrity activities