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How UEFA is helping Europe's football community in its time of need

UEFA’s HatTrick programme, which invests profits from UEFA EURO tournaments back into European football, begins a new four-year cycle that will see €775.5 million devoted to developing the game

When European football was put on hold in the spring, one of UEFA’s first actions was to announce a more flexible use of €236.5m from the HatTrick Programme to helps its 55 member associations to face the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

The decision recognised that associations would struggle at domestic level without matchday revenues coming in.

The HatTrick programme is funded by the profits from European Championships since 2004. Despite the postponement of EURO 2020, UEFA moved quickly to reassure national associations that it would still honour the 2020-2024 HatTrick funding cycle to safeguard the game ahead of European football’s return to play.

HatTrick investment helps European football at all levels
HatTrick investment helps European football at all levelsSPORTSFILE

“The UEFA HatTrick programme is a vital component of European football and its importance has never been clearer to see than during the COVID-19 crisis,” said UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin. “By lifting the conditions to release HatTrick funds to our associations, we have been able to limit the economic impact of the pandemic and look ahead to the resumption of our competitions.”

“However, we must not stand still as the game returns. We must use HatTrick to continue taking football forwards, providing more opportunities, better infrastructure and higher quality to ensure European football remains as strong as it can possibly be.”

Four more years

HatTrick’s fifth four-year cycle, which officially kicks off today (1 July), will invest a total of €775.5m in European football – a 27 percent increase on the previous cycle. By 2024, the programme will have contributed €2.6 billion of EURO revenue toward the benefit of the game, making it one of the world’s largest sporting solidarity and development initiatives.

HatTrick funding supports European football’s growth and development by targeting three goals:

Albania's new national stadium was funded in part by HatTrick
Albania's new national stadium was funded in part by HatTrick

Goal 1: increased investment funding

Goal 2: improved education

Goal 3: wider knowledge-sharing

Over the coming weeks, UEFA.com will publish a series of stories highlighting specific examples of how HatTrick funding is helping national associations in their time of need. In this initial overview, we identify areas where the programme is already making a difference: from playing and running football to supporting the game across the continent.

Playing football

HatTrick earmarks key funding to uphold the UEFA Grassroots Charter, which provides tailored assistance to associations to develop and improve non-elite activities.

This includes promoting participation, particularly for women and girls, and creating a solid foundation for the game.

Of course, players need coaches, and football matches need referees. UEFA’s Coaching Convention has become a reference point for best practice coaching and coach education in European football, while the UEFA Referee Convention has facilitated progress in refereeing services, as well as growing the number of qualified referees in Europe to almost 250,000. Both are funded by HatTrick.

The KNVB's Voetbalkampen is just one national training centre that has benefited from the HatTrick programme
The KNVB's Voetbalkampen is just one national training centre that has benefited from the HatTrick programmeEric Verhoeven/Soccrates

Supporting football

HatTrick funding is also invested in football’s future off the pitch. Since UEFA’s Football and Social Responsibility (FSR) unit was created in 2016, more than €11m has been devoted to more than 90 different projects that contribute to managing the game's social, economic and environmental impacts.

In the classroom, the UEFA Academy provides adult educational opportunities across 56 different initiatives each year. More than 2,000 graduates hail from over 120 countries, creating one unique network of football professionals.

Running football

The Hatrick programme’s incentive payments have helped establish the European-wide club licensing system for UEFA club competitions, in turn aiding the development and long-term sustainability of club football. The system also rewards national associations for ensuring correct and effective application of the licensing model, keeping the game fair and competitive.

Protecting the game’s integrity is crucial to UEFA’s operation. That’s why more than €16m has been made available through HatTrick for associations to employ Integrity Officers, tasked with safeguarding the sport and combat match-fixing.

UEFA HatTrick funding has increased 257% since 2004
UEFA HatTrick funding has increased 257% since 2004

UEFA HatTrick investment: A history

HatTrick I (2004–08): €301.6m

HatTrick II (2008–12): €408.1m

HatTrick III (2012–16): €513m

HatTrick IV (2016–20): €610.5m

HatTrick V (2020-2024): €775.5m

UEFA HatTrick V Regulations – 2020 Edition