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UEFA lays out priorities for 2009

UEFA has highlighted its priorities for this year following a UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Nyon: improving financial fairness in competitions; protecting young players; and making preparations for UEFA EURO 2012™.

Pursuing financial fair play in UEFA competition
Pursuing financial fair play in UEFA competition ©Getty Images

UEFA has been highlighting its priority activities for 2009 in the wake of the latest meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in Nyon, Switzerland: improving financial fair play in UEFA competitions; protecting young footballers; and progressing with preparations for UEFA EURO 2012™ in Poland and Ukraine. These three pillars were explained by UEFA General Secretary David Taylor, and will remain at the top of the European governing body's agenda over the coming months.

Well-timed initiative
"We have discussed financial fair play," said Mr Taylor. "It is something that has to be developed together with the clubs, and the indications that we are getting from the vast majority of clubs are such that in these times of global economic crisis, this initiative is very well-timed.

Complex matter
"We are concerned about our own competitions, and we decide the conditions of entry," he added. "UEFA will not impose from above. This is a complex, delicate matter and if we are to introduce new requirements, then they might be phased in over a period of time to allow clubs to adjust. The actual nature and detail of the possibilities need a lot of consideration. We have set up a group of [financial] experts to give us advice on how to proceed.

Financial panel
"UEFA's intention is to set up a club financial control panel which will look at the existing licensing system and any other measures for the future. What we can do at the moment is to ensure, protect and develop the independence of our club licensing system by setting up such a control panel."

Protection of youngsters
UEFA President Michel Platini has expressed his concern about the protection and education of young footballers, in particular the situation on the trafficking of children within football – a phenomenon whereby youngsters aged 12 or 13 can be taken from their home environment and culture to join a club in return for payment. The UEFA President has called for a ban on the international transfer of minors.

EURO progress
Turning to preparations for UEFA EURO 2012™ in Poland and Ukraine, the qualifying draw will be held in Poland on 7 February 2010. With regard to the tournament in three years' time, the UEFA EURO 2012™ media rights strategy was approved by the Executive Committee, and the tender process for the European rights will be launched on 6 February. The UEFA Executive Committee also approved the UEFA EURO 2012™ commercial concept.

May decisions
On other aspects of preparations for 2012, Mr Taylor said: "We will choose the venues and match schedule in May this year. At the moment, both countries have put forward six possible host cities in each country. As a maximum, there will be four host cities in each country. The next stage is to check on progress with stadiums and infrastructure projects. EURO 2012 is very much work in progress, but we can confirm progress in the project."

Top-quality product
"We are starting to go out into the market place to invite bids from broadcasters and commercial sponsors. These are challenging economic times, but we have a top-quality product, and we hear encouraging noises," Mr Taylor explained. With respect to UEFA EURO 2016™ – the first final round to feature 24 teams – the UEFA General Secretary said he expected "healthy interest" in hosting the competition, with potential bidders asked to signal their intention to UEFA by early in March.

HatTrick payments
At its meeting, the Executive Committee approved the 2008-12 HatTrick solidarity payments criteria which national associations must fulfil to obtain funding to a maximum of €800,000 from UEFA's development and incentive schemes. The associations benefit from €1.3 million per association per year in total, of which €500,000 is fixed and €800,000 linked to the various schemes. In 2007, UEFA approved the HatTrick scheme for the four-year period from 2008-12 (click here for more details of the HatTrick programme). The committee also approved the addition of a further seven member associations to the UEFA Referee Convention – Faroe Islands, Iceland, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Malta, Slovakia and Sweden. Click here to read the Convention.