February 1, 2023

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Aleksander Ceferin: The Unique Role of Football in Europe | UEFA

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin met the sports ministers of the 27 European Union member states in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss how sport, and in particular football, is essential for European societies in facing the challenges of an ever-changing world.

President Schwerin was a guest speaker at the Council of European Union Sports Ministers, and in his speech stressed the importance of values ​​such as “unity, determination, solidarity and resilience” in addressing the collective challenges of European society.

The UEFA president was invited as a speaker at the event by the Czech government – which currently holds the UEFA presidency – at a meeting in Prague last week with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the president of the Czech Football Association (FAČR), Petr. Fousek. During the meeting, Prime Minister Peter Fiala reaffirmed his country’s support for UEFA and the European sporting model, anticipating what was one of the main points of yesterday’s speech.

Protecting the European sports model

The official occasion between the UEFA President and the EU Sports Ministers came at the right time, given that almost a year has passed since last November 30, 2021, when the European Union member states adopted a historic decision on the most European model of sports, which won tribute. of Čeferin for the strength and importance of this decision. The EU countries also issued a declaration of joint commitment to defend the main actions of the European mathematical modelincluding the hierarchical structure, the open system of cheering and relegation, the grassroots approach and solidarity, the role of sport in national identity and its social and educational role.

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In a semi-ventive speech, Ceferin referred to European football’s collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the general rejection of the so-called Superleague, outlining how UEFA and European football uphold core European values ​​and play a strong role in football. In spreading awareness of human rights and environmental and social issues.

“Sport, and football in particular, has the gift of bringing unity: in our homes, in the stands, in our communities, in our countries and yes even in Europe,” he said.

“Together, as European partners, the European Union and its member states, UEFA and the broader European sports movement, we do not see sport as a capital to be drawn on exclusively. It goes much deeper than that. Football is part of the fabric of our societies, rooted in our culture, and essential to our health Our children and our communities, and it unites.”

UEFA and European football have had great support from European Union institutions, European Heads of State and Ministers, who consider us one of the main success stories of the European sporting model. The European Commissioner for Sport, Maria Gabriel, today listened attentively to President Schwerin’s remarks to the Council, and reminded the EU Ministers present, of the European Commission’s continued commitment to strengthening this model and the partnership with UEFA.

Strong relations between European partners

The long-standing partnership between UEFA and UEFA has recently been renewed and strengthened with Signing an ambitious cooperation agreement Focus on EU priorities, including promoting the European model of sport, the European Green Deal, the Equality Federation and spreading healthy lifestyles for all.

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“UEFA has respected its flag from the very beginning,” said Ceferin. “However, this is not obvious to everyone. For us, respect is a natural goal and we do it naturally.”

“Our fight against discrimination, and our programs to promote values ​​such as diversity and inclusion, are part of almost all of our bylaws. Even our enforcement processes and standards for hosting major events have been developed to ensure these values ​​are preserved. And why are our efforts so important? Because it is our duty and our responsibility.”

“Our central task is to develop and implement – in partnership with federations, leagues, clubs, coaches, players and fans – durable solutions that feed into the European sporting model.”

“I am proud to say that European football is one of the main success stories of this model as we prioritize solidarity and sustainability, rather than profit and power.”

“We’ve even surpassed the standards for 5-star charities, giving back over 95% of our proceeds to footballers in need.”

Then the president of the European Football Association stressed that the current model responds to the interests of the many, not the chosen few, and made a clear comparison to the ministers with the failed leagues project, whose model is purely commercial and relies on profit only.

No fit without a unit

UEFA invests the proceeds from the European Championships into the same member associations through the HatTrick programme, ensuring the development of the sport at all levels across Europe.

Since 2004, Hattrick has invested nearly €2.5 billion in European football, with another €935 million expected between 2024 and 2028.

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“We have more members than the European Union – 55,” said Schifrin. “We have a goal to achieve: to preserve, promote and develop football across the continent. We care about each other and recent crises have shown that.”

“Old and young, rich and poor, men and women, professionals and amateurs, they are all welcome and treated with respect.”

“Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta and Romania are some of the countries that will host youth tournaments in the Women’s and Men’s Euros over the next two years, just as Slovakia and Ireland have recently done. These competitions are economically losers, but we are not focused only on profit and so-called ‘entertainment’” .

“More than 1,000 clubs have taken part in UEFA club competitions so far. Participation in our competitions by clubs from all of our confederations brings excitement and gives a sense of domestic competition as well, which ultimately benefits your communities and countries.”

“This is our vision of football: a model that serves the interests of the many, not a select few. We have a long way to go with Euro 2024 in Germany and Euro 2025 for women, but we are ready. We are also the largest social movement on this continent. As mentioned earlier, we are ready And we have the right desire and we are more united than ever.”