Warsaw, 20.09.2011 – Football governance reform was high at the top of the agenda of an important meeting of the Board of Directors of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) held in Poland’s capital city.
The Board of Directors has reaffirmed that the need to implement long-overdue reforms to enhance football governance standards within UEFA and FIFA is greater than ever and must not continue to be postponed. Voicing the common views and long standing aspirations of the major 30 European football leagues and more than 900 clubs across the continent, the EPFL requests FIFA, and UEFA, to take effective measures to ensure greater participative and representative democracy, accountability and transparency, with representation of the Leagues and other key stakeholders in their executive decision-making structures.
The EPFL Board of Directors has reiterated the Leagues’ willingness to continue working with FIFA and UEFA in a positive and constructive fashion to promote the needed reforms. The EPFL considers that the “football family” must live up to its name and that more needs to be done to effectively integrate crucial stakeholders in the discussion and decision of matters in which they have serious concerns and legitimate interests.
The EPFL Board recalls the announcement made by the FIFA President that measures would be taken to restore the credibility and enhance democracy and transparency of decision-making processes both within FIFA and the global game. The EPFL hopes that FIFA will reform in the ways that President Blatter has promised and remains more than willing to play an active and constructive role in that context.
The outcome of the strategy discussions UEFA and its member associations are holding this week on this topic is also awaited with interest. The EPFL Board believes that the time is right for UEFA and its 53 member associations to “lead by example” and turn a new and positive page in the governance of European and world football. This will not undermine in any way the role of FIFA, its confederations and member associations. On the contrary, not only will this contribute to better decision-making and problem-solving within the football family, but to greater cohesion and support for the governing structures.
International match calendar – current situation is unsustainable
The international calendar was another issue under focus. The EPFL considers that the over-commercialisation of national team matches has led the international calendar to the unsustainable situation in which it is now and calls on FIFA to review it, together with all stakeholders, in order to alleviate the existing overburden, safeguard players’ health and facilitate the leagues fixture planning.
The EPFL believes that it is vital to find a proper balance between national team and club football and, therefore, would be forced to oppose any attempt to increase dates for international matches in detriment of the national championships which are the “bread and butter” of more than 900 football clubs across Europe. The Board pointed out that the current situation is critical and stressed that the Leagues cannot afford to lose any more dates, in particular weekend dates, for national team matches. The EPFL Board has also reiterated that the Leagues will not accept any decision being taken regarding the international calendar without their previous consultation and agreement.
EPFL approves Global Strategy Plan for 2011/12
The Board of Directors has approved by unanimity the EPFL Global Strategy Plan for 2011/12. With strategic vision and reformist spirit, four top flags will inspire the activity to be pursued by the Association and its member Leagues. The priorities will focus on:
- Good governance in sport
- Financial transparency, stability and solidarity
- Integrity of sport (including sports betting regulation and zero tolerance policy against match-fixing)
- Sustainable development of the Leagues business models (including protection of intellectual property rights and promotion of new business opportunities for the Leagues)