The UEFA Executive Committee today approved a code of conduct which sets out the guiding principles for all players, referees, clubs and other officials on issues surrounding the integrity of football. It aims to promote the highest standards of conduct in the organisation, playing and officiating of the game.
Following the ratification of the joint position paper approved by the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) and the UEFA Executive Committee in March 2013, and the adoption of the resolution "European Football United for the Integrity of the Game" at the latest UEFA Congress, a working group was created which included UEFA and the professional football stakeholders ECA, EPFL and FIFPro Division Europe.
The main role of this working group is to ensure efficient coordination of the activities of the professional stakeholders in this respect, including the implementation of the action plan approved as part of the joint position paper of the PFSC. One of the objectives of the action plan was to agree on a joint code of conduct for all participants in European football (e.g. players, referees, coaches, club representatives, administrators and competition organisers at European and domestic level) on integrity-related matters.
The "Protect our Game!" code of conduct is the result of the discussions held within the working group, and it was signed by all four Presidents of UEFA, ECA, EPFL and FIFPro Division Europe at the last PFSC meeting on 9 September 2014. It will also serve as a reference for code of conducts at national level, illustrating the positive result that strong cooperation between stakeholders can provide.
The European football stakeholders and the UEFA Executive Committee also welcomed the beginning of the signing of the Council of Europe's new convention on the manipulation of sports competitions, which took place today in Macolin, Switzerland.
The European Ministers responsible for sport were present in Macolin to discuss measures aimed at preventing, detecting and punishing the manipulation of sports competitions under both criminal law and disciplinary provisions, and to increase international cooperation between the public authorities concerned and sports organisations and sports betting operators.
The states who are signing the convention have notably undertaken to punish the manipulation of sports competitions under criminal law.
Commenting on these topics, UEFA President Michel Platini said:
"We are pleased that a code of conduct on integrity matters could be adopted thanks to excellent cooperation with the key stakeholders of the football family - the ECA, EPFL and FIFPro.
"We are also satisfied that the signing of the convention on the manipulation of sports competitions has begun, and that the manipulation of matches will be recognised as a criminal offence."
ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added:
"Together with the public authorities and the various components of the football family, we will eradicate this scourge from our game."
Speaking about the code of conduct EPFL Chairman Frédéric Thiriez said:
"The European Leagues are fully committed to defend domestic competitions' integrity. The principles set out by this joint code of conduct will further help our leagues and clubs in increasing awareness at national level".
FIFPro Division Europe President Bobby Barnes concluded:
"The players have a key role to play in combatting the manipulation of matches and we urge them to strictly adhere to the code of conduct. But we must not forget, that in many cases the players are the victims of these crimes and not the instigators".