As football's governing body within Europe, UEFA involves groups representing the sport's various stakeholders (leagues, clubs, players, supporters) in the decision-making process in European football matters.
As the organiser of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, UEFA has daily contact with the continent's top professional clubs. On an institutional level, UEFA and the clubs interact via the European Club Association (ECA).
Founded in January 2008, the ECA is the sole, independent body directly representing football clubs at European level, having replaced the 'G14' group and the European Club Forum, both dissolved at the beginning of 2008. It represents 207 clubs, drawn from the national associations within UEFA, and is steered by a 15-member executive board.
The ECA and UEFA originally signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2008 to herald a new era within the European football family. Under the memorandum, UEFA recognised the ECA as the sole body representing the interests of European clubs – and the ECA recognised UEFA as the governing body of football at European level, and FIFA as the governing body at worldwide level. A new Memorandum of Understanding was signed by UEFA and the ECA at the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Istanbul on 22 March 2012.
The ECA directly elects the four members representing the clubs participating in the UEFA competitions on the 16-member Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC). The PFSC brings together the main stakeholders in European football, i.e. UEFA, clubs, professional leagues and players, to work together to find common solutions on major topical issues affecting the game. It reports directly to the UEFA Executive Committee and exercises a major influence on its decision-making.
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