UEFA's Executive Committee welcomed 2012 with plenty of hard work and lively debate at its first meeting of the year in Nyon on Tuesday.
The Executive Committee, chaired by UEFA President Michel Platini, was informed in particular about the progress of discussions with the European Club Association (ECA) following a meeting on 23 January. The European governing body said that further talks are now to follow with a view to signing a new Memorandum of Understanding between UEFA and the ECA.
UEFA, as the governing body of European football, and the ECA, which now represents 201 clubs, drawn from every one of the 53 UEFA national associations, signed the existing memorandum after the ECA's creation in January 2008. Under the 2008 memorandum, among other things, UEFA recognises the ECA as the sole body representing the interests of clubs at European level – and the ECA recognises UEFA as the governing body of football at European level.
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino explained that the governance model in place was, as an example, helping the cooperation between UEFA and Europe's clubs. "We have the Professional Football Strategy Council [PFSC], where we have not only the clubs [ECA], but also the leagues [European Professional Football Leagues], and the players' union [FIFPro Division Europe]," he told UEFA.com. The PFSC, on which UEFA is represented by four vice-presidents, identifies solutions for improving collaboration between the various stakeholders in European football.
"When it comes to the clubs," he added, "it is crucial, of course, that through [the PFSC], the UEFA Club Competitions Committee, and then the Executive Committee, we can take the right decisions, and that the decision-making process is structured in a way that the clubs have a real say. And I think the clubs appreciate that."
The Executive Committee was also given an update on the safety and security situation surrounding football matches involving Serbian and Croatian teams in European competitions, following on from a visit by UEFA President Michel Platini to both countries to meet their Prime Ministers in February 2011, where Mr Platini stressed the importance of taking action against football-related violence.
The Executive Committee noted some progress in both cases, but also approved further monitoring by the UEFA administration and European Union (EU)/Council of Europe partners. "We will continue to cooperate with the governments," said Mr Infantino. "And we are confident that the necessary measures will be taken in these two countries."
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