UEFA is changing its Respect Fair Play reward criteria, with winning associations awarded prize money to allot to fair play or respect-themed projects in their respective countries.
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UEFA is changing its Respect Fair Play reward criteria from the 2015/16 season – with winning associations being awarded prize money to allocate to fair play or respect-themed projects in their respective countries instead of being awarded places in the UEFA Europa League.
The new criteria were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Nyon in December 2014, and are anchored in the new UEFA Fair Play Regulations, also adopted by the Executive Committee and which will come into force on 1 May 2015.
Each season, the UEFA Respect Fair Play competition has ranked all of UEFA's member associations on the basis of fair play assessments made by UEFA delegates at all UEFA matches, focusing on criteria such as positive play, respect for the opposition, respect for the referee, conduct of the crowd and team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals. The top three associations in the rankings have each been awarded an additional place in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round, with the three spots going to the clubs who win those associations' domestic fair play competitions.
Under the new Fair Play regulations, three different fair play rankings will be calculated from the 2015/16 campaign, and three categories of rewards are now foreseen for the winners:
• Overall fair play: The association with the highest overall fair play score;
• Best season-on-season overall fair play score progression: The association having the best progression on the previous season's final overall fair play score;
• Behaviour of spectators: The association with the highest final score with regard to this criterion.
In order to properly recognise that success in a fair play competition is an achievement by an entire national association, and to invite commitment to increasing fair play awareness, the associations rated highest in each of the categories will be awarded prize money to donate to amateur or professional clubs of their choice within the association, to be used for fair play or respect-themed projects. The amount of prize money will be decided by the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee.
These rewards will replace, as from season 2016/17, the three additional places offered in the UEFA Europa League.
No association may be granted more than one award even if it wins more than one of the three categories. For example, if the same association is ranked highest for overall fair play and in either or both of the other two categories, it wins the overall fair play award, and the association or associations placed second in the other category or categories win(s) the other(s).
If the same association is ranked highest for progression in overall fair play and behaviour of spectators, it receives the award for progression in overall fair play, and the next best-placed association in the behaviour of spectators ranking takes the award in that category. If two or more associations are ranked joint highest, the association listed higher in the previous season's overall fair play assessment wins the award in the category concerned.
"As part of UEFA's wide-ranging Respect campaign, and in order to emphasise that fair play and respect are an essential component of football and vital to its successful promotion and development, the new UEFA Fair Play regulations will aim to foster sporting attitudes and conduct among players, team officials and spectators, thus increasing the enjoyment of all those involved in the game," said UEFA's competitions director Giorgio Marchetti.
As the current UEFA Fair Play competition annual rankings take into consideration all UEFA competition matches from 1 May to 30 April, the new Fair Play regulations for the 2015/16 season will come into force on 1 May 2015 and cover a 14-month period from 1 May 2015 to 30 June 2016. As from 2016/17, the Fair Play competition will include all games played between 1 July and 30 June.