European football’s governing body Uefa has extended its partnership with the European Commission (EC), with the two parties stating their intention to tackle issues surrounding the transfer system and the role of agents within the game.
The renewed and extended Arrangement for Cooperation was signed today (Wednesday) at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels and is set to run until the end of 2020. The new agreement outlines plans for both organisations to work closely together in many areas, including the Euro 2020 national team tournament, which is set to be the largest transnational sporting event organised in the history of sport.
The two parties said they recognise the need to address issues such as contractual stability and the role of agents, including through the EU social dialogue process. Uefa last month said it is considering capping agents’ fees in an effort to “introduce more transparency”.
Uefa said that “appropriate sanctions in case of infringement of the rules” could be applied to enforce the rules, with clubs across the continent increasingly frustrated at disproportionately well-paid agents. Agents collected a total of £220m (€248.4m/$308.2m) in fees during the 2016-17 season – a 38-per-cent year-on-year increase.
Speaking at September’s Uefa Congress, president Aleksander Čeferin (pictured) also called on European lawmakers to provide assistance in addressing escalating spending amongst the continent’s elite clubs. Čeferin used his speech at the Congress to address criticism from European politicians over the business of the game on the continent, and the growing disparity built up by the wealthiest clubs and leagues.
Čeferin called for European and national legislation to help football create measures to make the game fairer and better regulated, and improve its ethics and solidarity. The full document issued today spelled out the need to improve the overall financial health of European football by strengthening the existing rules on Financial Fair Play.
It also added: “The Sides are aware of the alleged concerns of some stakeholders regarding the current operation of the football transfer system, such as a general lack of transparency, excessive fees, hoarding of players, lack of investment in local talent, and other abusive or unethical practices.
“The two sides should endeavour to strengthen policies that would address these issues in order to achieve a system that meets the needs of European football whilst complying with EU legal standards. 3.2.4.
“The Sides note the ‘joint resolution on intermediaries/agents’ adopted in the EU Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Professional Football (November 2017) calling for a more rational and transparent system of regulation to address the many challenges associated with the activities of intermediaries/agents in Europe.”
Speaking earlier today in Brussels, Čeferin said: “Uefa and the European Commission share a common desire to promote the social values of sport and to safeguard the principles of fairness and solidarity.
“We are pleased that the Commission supports Uefa’s commitment to enhance competitive balance and to improve good governance in football. We look forward to working closely with the Commission to further protect, promote and develop football for the benefit of society as a whole.”
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, added: “We have been working with Uefa for years, tackling some of the biggest challenges facing football and involving other stakeholders in the game, including players, clubs and leagues, in an inclusive way.
“The renewed Arrangement for Cooperation we have signed today confirms our intention to continue in this spirit, keeping up our efforts to address issues such as good governance, sustainability and gender equality for the benefit of European football, but also our societies at large.”