UEFA and the European Union
UEFA has developed close ties with the European Union and the Council of Europe. UEFA sees them both as natural partners and works closely with its respective representatives.
In 2017, UEFA established a representative office in Brussels. The office acts as a focal point for the coordination of its day-to-day activities with the political institutions.
The historical evolution of the relationship
Over the years, UEFA has established solid and sustainable relations with the main political institutions of the EU and the Council of Europe through permanent dialogue, the participation in working groups, events and cooperation agreements.
Cooperation with the European Commission
UEFA is in continuous dialogue with officials of the European Commission and participates at expert groups organized by various directorate generals to build an ever-stronger case for football in various policy areas, such as the promotion of physical activity, good-governance, the regulatory framework of professional football, protecting the integrity of competitions and the development of grassroots.
Since July 2008, UEFA chairs the social dialogue sectoral committee for professional football. The Committee is composed by employees' organisations (International Organisation of Professional Football Players' Associations - FIFPro) and employers' organisations (European Club Association - ECA and European Leagues -EL). The meetings are held under the auspices of the European Commission and they mainly focus on the implementation of the minimum requirements for standard player contracts and on the analysis of the sectoral labour relations. In November 2017, the parties adopted a resolution on intermediaries/agents designed to shape policy change in this regard by introducing more transparency and accountability (you can download the resolution here)
On Thursday 6 April 2017, the EU Commissioner for Sport made a key-note speech at the UEFA Congress highlighting the importance to embed the culture of good governance in sports organizations. On that occasion the Commissioner expressed satisfaction regarding UEFA’s good governance reforms and welcomed the work that UEFA carries out to nurture football’s grassroots – including the UEFA Grassroots Week.
UEFA’s cooperation with the European Commission culminated with signature in October 2014 of a historic ‘agreement for cooperation’ which committed the two institutions to working together in a tangible and constructive way on matters of shared interest.
The arrangement for cooperation was renewed and extended the agreement on 21 February 2018 in presence of Aleksander Čeferin, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU Commissioner for sport Tibor Navracsics. The new agreement outlined plans for both organisations to work closely together with a focus on UEFA EURO 2020. The agreement also addressed other matters such as good governance, solidarity, integrity and other policy areas that affect the sustainable development of the game.
The text of the arrangement for cooperation is available here
On 20 November 2018 UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin and European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli presented a signed letter of intent to the European Union Commissioner for Sport, Tibor Navracsics.
This letter of intent outlines the willingness of UEFA and ECA to reinforce their cooperation on a wide range of matters, in order to ensure the sustainable development of European football.
EU funding programmes
The EU provides various funding opportunities for grassroots sport – e.g. to promote education, social inclusion or gender equality. UEFA established in 2017 an in-house service to facilitate the access of its member associations to EU funding programmes. The aim of this service is to increase the participation of UEFA Member Associations in European co-funded projects on different EU priorities – e.g. good governance, social inclusion, volunteering and integrity of sport. UEFA Members Associations are now part of several transnational projects co-funded by EU programmes, such as ‘Erasmus+ ’ and ‘LIFE’.
Example of EU co-funded project supported by UEFA and implemented by UEFA Member Associations: LIFE TACKLE
UEFA is also a major player of ‘SHARE’, the EU network established by the EU Commission. This network aims to encourage the use of European structural and investments funds for promoting regional development, through investments in sports.
Cooperation with the Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union represents the executive governments of the EU's member states which expresses the position of their member state's executive. The Council adopts both legal acts and documents such as conclusions, resolutions and statements, which set up political commitments. The presidency of the Council rotates among the EU member states every 6 months. During this 6-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council.
UEFA cooperates with the Council, through a continuous dialogue with their representatives in order to develop a coherent EU approach in relation to the matters of interest of European football.
On 23 May 2018, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin was a guest speaker at the at informal meeting of the Sports Ministers where he shared his vision for the future of European football, reiterating the important role that competitive balance and the European sports model play and the need for UEFA and the EU’s main political authorities to nurture their existing, strong bonds.
Cooperation with the European Parliament
Cooperation between UEFA and the EU Parliament mostly takes place through the MEPs who are active within the EP Sports Intergroup, a parliamentary group dedicated to sport matters. This relationship has been strengthened over the years through various other initiatives, specifically when UEFA set up the ‘Friends of Football’, an informal group of MEPs passionate about football who regularly meets with UEFA representatives.
With the European Parliament, dialogue relates to a wide range of issues, such as the integrity of sport, Financial Fair Play, the development of grassroots football and many others. In 2017, the European Parliament resolution on sport (2016/2143(INI) “an integrated approach to Sport Policy: good governance, accessibility and integrity” – the “Takkula” report) provided support to UEFA’s initiatives, core-values and modernising reforms to UEFA activities and core-values.
The text of the report is available here
Cooperation with the European Committee of the Regions
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is an EU advisory body composed of locally and regionally elected representatives coming from all 27 Member States. It represents local and regional authorities across the European Union and advises on new laws that have an impact on regions and cities (70% of all EU legislation).
UEFA recently reinforced its relationship with the CoR through the signature of the #Cohesion Alliance, a campaign launched by the CoR about cohesion policy funds of the European Union beyond 2020.
In November 2018, UEFA and the CoR organized a workshop on the use of EU funding for investments in sport. The event brought together all UEFA member associations with senior officials from EU institutions, including the EU Commissioner for sport. On that occasion the CoR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz and the UEFA First-Vice President signed a joint declaration that highlights sport’s contribution in bolstering economic development and calls for a more significant allocation of funds for investments in sport in the next budget of the EU (2021-2027).
The text of the joint declaration is available here
Cooperation with the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international and continent's leading human rights organisation. It includes 47 member states, 27 of which are members of the European Union. It also comprises the European Court of Human Rights which oversees the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the member states.
UEFA is a member of the consultative committee of the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS). The main mission of EPAS is to foster dialogue between public authorities, sports federations and NGOs. The participation in the consultative committee of EPAS allows UEFA to stay up to date on sport related issues discussed by national governments and to take part in debates on significant matters such as the reform of the European Sport Charter.
UEFA is also part of the Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence (T-RV) and of the Monitoring Group of the Anti-Doping Convention (T-DO). The mission of those Committees is to make sure that the two Conventions are respected by the States parties. Furthermore, UEFA supports the KCOOS+ project whose main objectives are to promote the ratification of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (the Macolin Convention), and to provide technical assistance to countries in the implementation of the Convention principles.
The text of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions is available here
On 30 May 2018, UEFA and the Council of Europe signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The MoU enhances mutual cooperation in the interests of the long-term development of sport and its role in society. Cooperation is based on topics of general interest such as the protection of human rights and the integrity of sports competitions in addition to the delivery of safe and secure major sports events.
The text of the Memorandum of Understanding is available here