UEFA, in partnership with the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA), hosted the first-ever Grow Conference on Finance and HR Management.
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There is no way to ensure a competitive, prosperous, and trusted European football ecosystem without sound financial management and talented and engaged people working on its development. This is why UEFA brought together finance and human resources directors from its 55 member associations in a two-day event held at the home of Belgian football in Tubize last week.
“It is quite clever to combine HR and finance, so that they get an understanding of each other’s area of expertise: you need both the money and the people,”
All participants attended sessions on both fields, including case studies and discussions, and the presentation of the UEFA Grow surveys results, which offer insights on the associations’ performance in these domains and will allow for benchmarking among them.
These surveys show that, on average, UEFA member associations’ revenue has increased by 89 per cent between 2010 and 2021, with this growth widely spread across federations. Figures also reveal that investment in women’s football has increased by 220 per cent in the same period. “We are glad to see national associations recovering well after the severe hit of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Josef Koller, UEFA’s finance director, who also presented an insight on UEFA’s financial results and some key budget figures of the upcoming EURO 2024 to his national associations’ counterparts.
The conference placed a strong emphasis on group work, with participants engaging in cross-domain discussions with their peers, mainly around the survey results. Many association representatives in the finance sector committed to organise more frequent dialogue and cooperation among themselves.
Attendees managing member associations staff also left yearning for more. “It was very interesting to see the data on where other federations stand,” said Rita Galvão, HR director at the Portuguese Football Federation. “But we work with people, and we want to go beyond the data and the numbers and continue sharing our experiences with working from home, investment in staff education, performance appraisals, and many other issues,” Galvão added.
Following an inspiring keynote speech from Lucy Adams on the future role of HR departments, UEFA Chief of HR, Julien Baehni, insisted on the importance of keeping pace with an evolving reality, while making sure that staff policies respond to the needs of both employees and organisations. “We at UEFA strive to continuously improve our staff wellbeing and foster a diverse and inclusive workplace,” Baehni noted, “and we are excited to work together with our member associations along the way.”