"UEFA can be immensely proud of what it has achieved," said UEFA President Michel Platini with European football's governing body marking its 60th anniversary on Sunday 15 June.
UEFA officially celebrated its 60th birthday on Sunday 15 June, and can look back with pride and satisfaction on its achievements in the service of European football.
"UEFA can be immensely proud of what it has achieved over the past 60 years," said UEFA President Michel Platini. "It has remained faithful to the vision of its pioneers, who created the body seeking unity and solidarity within European football. UEFA has also striven constantly to develop, protect and foster the game's well-being, from the elite to the grassroots, while ensuring that football remains open to everyone and plays its full role in society.
"We can look back on a rich and eventful history – on the pitch there have been memorable matches, brilliant players and wonderful goals; passion, drama and emotion; events and occasions; people and places; innovation and, at the same time, a respect for tradition. UEFA has always acted with the interests of football and its essential values at heart, and remains as active as ever. We will continue to work together with our member associations and partners to ensure that the game enjoys the good health, development and popularity that it deserves."
The body was officially founded at a meeting of 31 national football associations in Basel, Switzerland, on 15 June 1954.
UEFA was established after several years of consultation and discussion between senior European football officials who wished for the formation of a united European football movement that could progress in a variety of areas, such as competitions, refereeing, coaching and television. The ultimate aim, however, was to bring Europe's national associations together into one body, fostering solidarity and strengthening them as a result.
Since 1954, the umbrella body of European football – one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA – has grown into the cornerstone of the game on this continent, working with and acting on behalf of Europe's national football associations and other stakeholders in the game to promote football and strengthen its position as the most popular sport in the world. UEFA has also become the guardian of football in Europe, protecting the well-being of the sport at all levels.
UEFA runs major club competitions, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and the UEFA European Championship for national teams. In addition, the European body organises club and national team competitions for women's, youth, amateur and futsal teams. Its expert committees and panels make proposals and recommendations to improve the game in a variety of areas. Education programmes help to train coaches, referees and football administrators. A comprehensive social responsibility programme uses football's status and popularity to address a variety of social issues, and UEFA's beating heart extends across the world with its contributions to helping football progress on other continents.
UEFA began life in Paris, working from offices at the French Football Federation (FFF) headquarters, before moving to the Swiss federal capital Berne in January 1960. Two moves within Berne followed in 1962 and 1974. After more than three decades in the city, UEFA moved to Nyon in western Switzerland in 1995, working from temporary premises while the body's new home, the House of European Football, was built.
UEFA's new headquarters were opened in October 1999, and a football campus has been created on the site since then, with three main buildings housing UEFA's staff, staging UEFA events and meetings, and ensuring the smooth running of European football activities.
In 1960, then UEFA General Secretary Hans Bangerter was accompanied by two secretaries. Now, as UEFA has grown into a dynamic business concern reflecting football's expansion, it employs 461 people of 33 different nationalities – including lawyers, IT staff, media and marketing specialists and translators.
UEFA has been served by six Presidents since 1954: Ebbe Schwartz (Denmark), Gustav Wiederkehr (Switzerland), Artemio Franchi (Italy), Jacques Georges (France), Lennart Johansson (Sweden) and the current UEFA President, Michel Platini (France).