UEFA hopes that the UEFA Champions League season will carry on in the same spirit that marked the UEFA EURO 2008™ final round in Austria and Switzerland in June.
During the UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday, UEFA General Secretary David Taylor recalled the attitude of players, supporters and officials at the EURO tournament, which heartened European football's governing body as it strives to promote the idea of respect throughout football.
Respect and fair play
Congratulating the 32 clubs that have qualified for the UEFA Champions League group phase, Mr Taylor said: "The new European club football season comes hot on the heels of a hugely successful European Football Championship, where the spirit of both respect and fair play were seen both on and off the field. I'd therefore like to take this opportunity to ask all the clubs, players and officials to continue in that spirit for the season. The Respect campaign includes respecting opponents, referees, officials and supporters, and will be prevalent across UEFA's European competitions."
Continuing the theme
"It's a development of the Fair Play ethos which UEFA has adopted in recent years and which is being developed on a broader scale," Mr Taylor told uefa.com ahead of the draw. "Respect covers a whole range of things that football should be concerned about – respect towards opponents, laws of the game, officials, from one set of fans to the other set of fans – and respect generally is a value that UEFA, as an organisation, and its staff should adopt in dealings with everybody that they become associated with.
Message getting through
"We are developing specific focused initiatives to bring that campaign to life," Mr Taylor continued. "We started just before EURO, and the message in the early stages seems to be getting through. I've heard this from a number of sources, and I saw it for myself that the issues of diving, cheating and contesting [refereeing] decisions all the time were far, far less prevalent during the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament than we have seen in the past. Of course, what is important is that we take this through into our club competitions and see the same sort of behaviour from fans, players, coaches and officials in the next year."
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