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As the financial fair play concept put in place by UEFA continues to move forward, UEFA's Executive Committee has heard how Europe's clubs will be prepared for the introduction of wide-ranging provisions in the 2012/13 season.
The Executive Committee, meeting in Tel Aviv, was given a comprehensive insight into the working of the new UEFA Club Financial Control Panel by panel chairman and former Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene. The panel, which comprises eight expert members, was set up last year. Its duties include ensuring that the UEFA Club Licensing Regulations are applied correctly across all 53 UEFA member associations.
The panel is seen as key in making sure the financial fair play concept is a success. Under the concept, clubs will have to balance their books and operate within their financial means, thereby helping restore stability to the European game. The panel also has the function of helping improve financial fairness in European competitions, and stimulating long-term investment in areas such as youth development and upgrading of sports installations.
"This is linked very closely to the financial fair play regulations that are currently being finalised and are due to be published in the summer," said UEFA head of communications Rob Faulkner. "Mr Dehaene [and the Club Financial Control Panel] will be tasked with giving guidance to the clubs over the next two years, once the regulations are public, to allow the clubs to restructure and prepare themselves for when the regulations come into force.
"From 2012/13, the Club Financial Control Panel's main task for the following three years will be to carry out compliance audits that are currently done by the UEFA administration, in making sure the clubs adhere to all club licensing requirements as per the financial fair play regulations."
The 2010/11 regulations of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup were approved. One notable amendment is that a player who has been fielded in the first, second or third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League will be entitled to play in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League for another club from the group stage, provided his former club have been eliminated from the respective competition.
Preparations for 2012 UEFA EURO 2016 in Poland and Ukraine, especially the work being undertaken on airports, stadiums and transport, were also on the agenda. Eight cities – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw (Poland), and Donetsk, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv (Ukraine) – will stage UEFA EURO 2012 matches. "The [new] Ukrainian government is fully behind the project, although there have been delays because of the winter weather," said Faulkner. "There was confirmation that projects will be back on track and delivered in time for EURO 2012."
In other news from the Tel Aviv meeting, Croatia has been appointed as host nation of the 2012 UEFA European Futsal Championship, with games to be played in Zagreb and Split. Further discussions are to take place on the format of the UEFA European Women's Championship. The 2009 final round in Finland was the first to feature 12 teams.
Following a recommendation by the board of UEFA Events SA, the Executive Committee approved a new agency agreement between UEFA and TEAM Marketing for the marketing of commercial rights for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup. Lucerne-based agency TEAM has been a partner of UEFA since 1992. The new agreement initially covers the 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons as well as an additional three-season term which is conditional on performance and delivery. UEFA is also selling its 20% shareholding in TEAM to TEAM's parent shareholder Highlight Communications AG.
An important meeting awaits the Executive Committee on 27 and 28 May at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The committee will convene to choose the hosts of UEFA EURO 2016 from three candidates – France, Italy and Turkey – following the submission of technical recommendations by the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee. Once the committee has made its decision, an announcement is due to be made in Geneva at 13.00CET on 28 May.
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