Since its foundation in Basel, Switzerland, on 15 June 1954, the relationship between UEFA and its member national associations has been the cornerstone of UEFA’s work in the development of football. In recent years, UEFA has strengthened its relations and dialogue with a growing number of stakeholders, but the bond between the European governing body and its members remains a key priority and is considered unshakeable.
UEFA’s name is the Union des Associations Européennes de Football or Union of European Football Associations. As such, the body is an association of associations and works together with, represents, defends the interests of, and provides invaluable assistance to its member associations.
In 1954, UEFA began with 31 members. Today, 55 football associations from across Europe are UEFA members. Large or small, each country can benefit from development funding, expert assistance and guidance. In turn, each association plays a vital role providing input and feedback on UEFA’s decision-making process, representing the membership of UEFA’s management committees and expert panels. In addition, the associations cooperate in a variety of specific UEFA sectors of activity to exchange information and create football good practices.
UEFA’s work both with and for its member associations is centralised within the UEFA National Associations division located at the European House of Football in Nyon, Switzerland. The division, headed by director of national associations Zoran Lakovic, is the nerve centre for a wide variety of activities and events.
The National Associations division is the access point to all UEFA member associations and provides support to their management at all levels. Major tools deployed are the various professional exchange programmes, such as the Top Executive Programme, the KISS knowledge-sharing programme, grassroots development, the Study Group Scheme as well as national team coaching and coach education courses at the technical level. The division is also responsible for UEFA’s football social responsibility activities as well as club licensing and financial fair play matters.
Specific development work is also on the national associations division’s agenda – which includes the innovative UEFA HatTrick funding and assistance programme on behalf of the 55 member associations; personal development programmes which aim, among other things, to train and further educate national association staff and, as a consequence, enhance associations’ professional management and operations; and the Women’s Football Development Programme, which sees UEFA and the associations working in harness to nurture the progress of the women’s game.
The relationship is a successful and mutually rewarding one – UEFA and its associations work hand in hand for the overall well-being and development of European football.
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