Alexander Ceferin: Fundamental importance of football in Europe | UEFA

Alexander Ceferin: Fundamental importance of football in Europe |  UEFA

Alexander Ceferin met sports ministers from the 27 EU member states in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss how important sport, and football in particular, is to people across Europe amid the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

The UEFA president was the guest speaker at the Council of EU Sports Ministers, where he highlighted the importance of “unity, determination, solidarity and resilience” in tackling common challenges facing the European community.

He was invited by the Czech government, which currently holds the EU Council Presidency, to a meeting in Prague on Tuesday, November 27. In addition to Czech Prime Minister Peter Fiala, Czech Football Association (FAČR) President Peter Fausek also attended. In this meeting (text in English only) The Prime Minister pledged his country’s support for the European sports model and UEFA. This sporting model was also the central theme of the UEFA President’s speech.

Preservation of the European model of sport

This official meeting of the UEFA President and EU Sports Ministers comes almost a year ago on 30 November 2021, after EU member states adopted a landmark resolution. Alexander Ceferin commended the EU member states for this resolution, who are committed to jointly strengthening the pillars. European sports model to defend; Includes pyramid structure, open competitions with promotion and relegation system, grass roots football, concept of solidarity, identity formation role and social function of sport.

In a scathing speech, the UEFA president cited European football’s collective response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the widespread rejection of the so-called Super League as evidence that UEFA and European football uphold and play an important role in core European values. Raises awareness of human rights, environmental and social issues.

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“Sports, especially football, bring unity – in our homes, in the stands, in our communities, in our countries, yes, even in Europe,” Ceferin said.

“We, the European Union and its member states, UEFA and the wider European sports movement are European partners. For us, sport is not a profit-making entity. Sport is much more. It is part of our society, it is rooted in our culture, it is the basis for the health of our children, it connects.

UEFA and European football are supported by EU institutions, heads of state, heads of government and European ministers as one of the biggest success stories of the European sports model. Welcoming UEFA President Aleksandar Ceferin’s presentation to the Council, European Sports Commissioner Maria Gabriel reminded those present of the European Commission’s continued commitment to strengthening this model and its partnership with UEFA.

Strong relationship with European partners

The long-standing partnership between UEFA and the EU has recently been strengthened Signing of an Ambitious Cooperation Agreement (English text only) The European Sports Model focuses on EU priorities including promoting the EU Green Deal, the Equality Union and healthy lifestyles for all.

“UEFA has been at the forefront of respect since the beginning,” Ceferin said. “It’s not obvious to everyone, but it’s a common goal for us.

Our fight against discrimination and our programs to promote diversity and inclusion are included in almost all UEFA regulations. We ensure that these values ​​are observed, even in our application procedures and criteria for organizing major events. Why are these efforts so important? Because it is our duty and responsibility.

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Our core mission is to work with our member associations, leagues, clubs, coaches, players and fans to develop and implement sustainable solutions that advance the European sports model.

I am proud to say that European football is one of the greatest success stories of this model of prioritizing solidarity and sustainability over profit and power.

We surpass even the top rated charities by returning over 95% of our revenue to those in need in football.

The UEFA president emphasized that the current model serves the many, not the chosen few. He directly compared the failed “Super League” project and its supporters, whose model was solely for entertainment and profit.

Without unity there is no chance

UEFA invests European Championship revenue into national associations through the Hat Trick scheme, ensuring the development of football at all levels across Europe.

Almost €2.5 billion has been invested in European football since 2004 through the hat-trick; A further €935 million is planned for 2024-28.

“We have more members than the European Union – 55 in total,” said Alexander Ceferin. “We all have one goal and we work: to protect, promote and develop football across the continent. We care for each other, as recent crises have shown.

Big or small, rich or poor, male or female, elite or amateur, all are welcome and treated with respect.

Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Cyprus are among the countries set to host the European Youth Finals for the next two years, with Slovakia and Ireland more recently. There are losses in running these competitions because we are not just for profit and so called ‘entertainment’.

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Since its inception, 1000 clubs have participated in UEFA club competitions. The participation of clubs from all our national associations in competitions is exciting and gives meaning to national championships – ultimately benefiting your community and your country.

This is our vision of football, a model that serves the many, not just the select few. We still have a long way to go towards EURO 2024 in Germany and Women’s EURO 2025. Preparations are already in full swing. Ours is the largest social movement on this continent. We are ready, we are determined and we are united.

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