UEFA has met with European fan groups to discuss a variety of issues of mutual interest – with the European body reinforcing its commitment to listening to the opinions of the supporters who form the essential core of the game.
Exchange of views
Supporters' representatives attended the gathering at the House of European Football in Nyon on Monday for talks with UEFA President Michel Platini – initiator of the dialogue – UEFA General Secretary David Taylor and other UEFA officials. The meeting focused on how supporters can make a contribution to the modern-day game, and gave UEFA the opportunity to put forward its own views and hear the fans' valued opinions.
"In discussions, we became aware that while we now have various representative groups within football, there was no group for supporters' representatives. We felt that this was a situation that we should be addressing," UEFA General Secretary David Taylor told uefa.com. "We want to involve the fans – we are an international governing body with wide interests in the world of football, and there is a natural alliance between UEFA and fans in many areas affecting the game."
UEFA then provided detailed explanations on the functioning of its disciplinary bodies, particularly with respect to offences relating to safety and security, and supporter behaviour – allowing the supporter groups to understand the processes in place, ask questions and offer their feedback on matters such as types of disciplinary sanctions used.
A study was presented looking at the feasibility of recreating the UK-based body Supporters Direct's successful setup on a pan-European scale, and containing advice on how fans can become involved in the running of their clubs. Feedback was given on the 1st European Football Fans' Congress and on progress towards the establishment of an effective European-wide football fans network. Supporters Direct indicated that it had no intention to become the central supporters' organisation, but rather to act as a specialist arm and make its expertise available to such a European-wide network, once properly created.
Education and protection of young players, financial fair play, and the preparations for UEFA EURO 2012™ – all key elements of UEFA's activities this year – were explained by UEFA at the talks. "We are making good progress and we want to continue to support the fans' groups to reach a position where the communication channels are properly in place so that we can have much more dialogue," said Mr Taylor.
Working with the fans
"UEFA believes that professional football without the fans is nothing, and therefore as we are concerned with the overall health of the game, we must listen to the views and concerns of the fans. We must work with the fans to help build a united European football family with the best interests of the game at heart."
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