This year, winter seems to have lasted much longer than it should. Muddy, sometimes snow-covered, pitches have once again raised questions about the wisdom of playing at the coldest time of the year. Indeed, unpredictable bounces and untimely slips are hardly conducive to a technical, dazzling style of play characterised by high-precision passing. And it is not only the technical quality of the game that suffers as a result, but the entertainment value too.
But football is more than just a form of entertainment. It is first and foremost a game, and a team game at that. A special event this year serves to remind us what football is really all about, as The Football Association (The FA), the oldest in the world, celebrates its 150th anniversary.
English football has always embodied the specific values of the game – tenaciousness, commitment and team spirit – whatever the conditions, since there is no winter break in the English championship. Anyone who has experienced the extraordinary atmosphere of an English stadium, with supporters close to the players and quick to get carried away by their teams' exploits, anyone who has been stirred by the sound of the fans' singing and gripped by the incredible fervour of the crowd can testify to the fact that a match in England is not just a football match, but a real community event.
For The FA, 2013 is therefore a year of celebration, and UEFA is delighted to be able to make its own contribution by staging the climax of the European club season – the UEFA Champions League final – in London along with the UEFA Women's Champions League final and this year's general meeting of the UEFA member associations, the XXXVII Ordinary UEFA Congress.
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