EPFL gets ready to tackle main challenges facing football

EPFL Standing Committee on Competition Matters
EPFL Standing Committee on Competition Matters

Good governance in football, financial stability and transparency, sports betting integrity and protection of sports intellectual property rights, as well as key football matters like third party ownership and players’ agents reform, will be EPFL’s top flags during the next twelve months, all of which the Association’s Board approved last week in London. The EPFL Strategy Plan and budget for 2012/13, as well as the 2011/12 report of activities and financial report  were all approved by unanimity and shall be submitted now to the EPFL’s supreme body, the General Assembly, whose meeting shall be held on 26 October, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The EPFL Board of Directors has also reaffirmed its full commitment towards the World League Association, whose formation process was official launched on 27 March 2012, with the appointment of its first founding members, i.e. the EPFL, the Major League Soccer (USA/Canada), the UAE Elisalat League, the South African Premier Soccer League and the Thai Premier League.   

In preparation to the upcoming European leagues’ conclave, a series of Committee meetings have also been held last week, including the EPFL Committee on Media and Marketing and the EPFL Committee on Competition Matters. This week, Brussels will host two other important Committee meetings: the EPFL Committee on EU Affairs and Social Dialogue and the EPFL Committee on Players’ Transfers and Players’ Agents, which will conclude the cycle of Committee meetings initiated last month.

The EPFL Committee on Media and Marketing was held at the’Leaders in Football’ sport business event, gathering senior representatives from 12 Leagues and offered the opportunity to brainstorm the general objectives and priorities to be developed by the Committee during the 2012/2013 season.  The Committee shall focus on strengthening the Leagues know-how and information sharing on media and marketing matters as well as the fight against ‘digital piracy’, among other relevant projects.

Important progress was also made at the meeting of the EPFL Committee on Competition Matters, which was hosted by the Premier League. In addition to the Committee’s action plan for the current season, the Leagues representatives addressed the coordination of leagues’ and UEFA’s matches, youth development and UEFA club competition matters. The Committee members also had the opportunity to share views on the refereeing matters, after having listened to presentations made by Hawkeye representatives, on goal-line technology, and UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer Pierluigi Collina who presented examples on the productivity of the additional assistant referees at the EURO 2012. The former International referee also showed the active communication during a match between additional assistant referees and first officials (main referees) to mark any kind of dubious play in the penalty box, including if the ball crossed the goal-line.

Discussions will continue today during the EPFL Committee on EU Affairs and Social Dialogue. Among other topics, the agenda includes a wide array of issues related to IP Rights protection, sports betting regulation, implementation of the EPFL Code of Conduct on Sports Betting Integrity and the new projects to be developed within the ambit of the European Social Dialogue.

Tomorrow, the EPFL Committee on Players’ Transfers and Players’ Agents will address much heated topics, such as third party ownership, harmonization of transfer windows and closing dates/hours, players’ agents’ reform, clubs youth academies in foreign countries, among other items.

The EPFL is therefore getting ready to tackle the most pressing challenges facing the game and the leagues’ business models. Following its approval by the Board of Directors, the whole strategy, global action plan and reformist proposals advocated by the EPFL will be then be ratified at the European leagues’ General Assembly, in Scotland’s beautiful capital city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Edinburgh.

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