In the latest edition of official publication UEFA•direct, UEFA President Michel Platini says recent centralised marketing developments are the result of dialogue with UEFA's member associations.
The centralised marketing of matches is nothing new in football and the system used in the UEFA Champions League has long served as a reference and model. It is unanimously supported and clearly suits everyone involved.
Nevertheless, it was a bold idea to try to introduce the principle of centralised marketing for all UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Every association has its own contracts and customs, the sporting value of teams is as varied as the size of domestic markets, and national associations are not run along the same lines as clubs.
That said, many associations believed in this project from the start, and with enough conviction to gradually persuade the more sceptical. The UEFA Executive Committee has also given the project its full support and is ready to provide funds if required.
Now, all 53 member associations have signed up. This is both a powerful signal of their desire to raise the status of national-team football and an exemplary act of solidarity on the part of the larger associations.
At a practical level, it will no doubt be a relief for the associations not to have to worry about the media value of the opponents the draws throw at them and instead to be able to concentrate fully on sporting concerns.
Last, but by no means least, this project has not been imposed from the top down; it is the result of consultation and a commitment to ongoing dialogue.
This is the approach I proposed when first elected UEFA president and the approach we have since adopted, together.
Thank you to all of you for your continued faith in me.
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