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UEFA and European Commission renew cooperation agreement up to 2025

Accord strengthens joint commitment to promoting positive social change and defending the European sports model.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin (left) and European Commission vice-president  Margaritis Schinas
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin (left) and European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas EU / Bogdan Hoyaux

The European Commission and UEFA are set to intensify joint efforts to use football’s influence to drive positive change across Europe after renewing and strengthening their long-standing institutional partnership.

The renewal of the EC-UEFA Arrangement for Cooperation, signed by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin and EC Vice-President Margaritis Schinas in Brussels on 6 October, will take collaboration between the two organisations to a new level by focusing on critical European Union priorities such as climate action, equality for all and social inclusion.

First signed in 2014, the agreement provides a roadmap for cooperation through to 2025. This builds on existing efforts to leverage both the huge visibility of UEFA’s pan-European events and competitions and its member associations’ power to reach all corners of Europe’s vast football community.

Next month’s UEFA-led Convention on the Future of European Football, for example, will bring together representatives of fans, players, clubs, leagues and the governing body’s 55 member associations, with the EC supporting as a formal observer to the process.

"This is a unique partnership," said EC Vice-President Schinas, after signing the renewal. "We will keep working within the existing structures and framework in full alignment with European objectives towards serving and bringing together society and citizens."

The power of partnership

• UEFA’s commitment to EU Green Deal – later this month, an EU-UEFA advert highlighting the need to save energy will be played on television, social media and stadium screens during UEFA competitions, reaching an audience of millions.

UEFA support for the European Commission’s #BeActive campaign during the European Week of Sport and UEFA Grassroots Week.

The UEFA Coaches for Health - #FeelWellPlayWell campaign launched in 2021/22 was a pledge to the EC's HealthyLifestyles4All campaign and drew on the voices of European football coaches to advocate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for 13–17 year-olds.

• UEFA funding for national football associations running walking football programmes supports the objectives of the EU’s strategy for active and healthy ageing.

• The EC has helped develop and promote UEFA’s circular economy guidelines.

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel added: "Sport, and particularly football, is an efficient platform to reach our youth and all European citizens, raising awareness of our European values. UEFA is an important partner to promote our initiatives in sport related notably to HealthyLifestyle4All, inclusiveness, mental health, fairness and gender equality."

Earlier this summer, football’s governing body committed to promoting European objectives on equality, diversity and inclusion through the men’s UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany and the women’s EURO 2025. European football will also support the EC’s Union of Equality Conference in 2023 by inviting football stars to deliver key messages to fans and citizens across Europe.

European sports model

The renewed accord also underlines both the EC’s and UEFA’s commitment to protecting the European sports model – the foundations on which most of Europe’s sports institutions, organisations and governing bodies are built.

The model promotes solidarity across different levels of sport, ensuring that revenue generated by professional competition is reinvested into developing football at grassroots levels. It also recognises football’s contribution to promoting European values off the pitch, including fairness, integrity, sustainability, gender equality and good governance.

"Europe’s core principle is solidarity," added the EC Vice-President. "UEFA and the European Commission will ensure that UEFA’s competitions remain a success story embedded in our European model of sport."

Opposition to the ‘European super league’

By endorsing the existing pyramid structure of European football, based on open competition, including promotion and relegation, the agreement also reinforces UEFA’s and the EC’s opposition to the so-called ‘European super league’ proposal and the pure commercial entertainment model. This embodies the direction of EU sports policy given in recent landmark resolutions by the European Parliament and EU member states (Council of the EU).

Welcoming the agreement as a demonstration of the enduring strength of partnership between the two European bodies, the UEFA president commented: "These last years have seen an intense period of cooperation between UEFA and our EU partners facing generational challenges to the European way of life and our European sports model.

"As this agreement signals, our partnership – based on decades of trust and open relations – is stronger than ever and we have a roadmap to develop ambitiously into the future together for the benefit of all."