ECA has developed strong relationships with key stakeholders in European football, notably the two governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA. Over the years, ECA managed to ensure that club representatives are directly involved in the decision-making process linked to matters impacting the professional club game. Through the involvement of club representatives in various UEFA and FIFA bodies, the voice of European clubs is heard and properly taken into account. A milestone was reached in 2017, as two club representatives were formally accepted as full members in the UEFA Executive Committee.
ECA Representation on UEFA Executive Committee
In April 2017, the 41st Ordinary UEFA Congress unanimously approved changes to the UEFA Statutes, which officialise the inclusion of two club representatives in the UEFA Executive Committee as full members with voting rights.
These statutory changes follow the decision of the UEFA Congress in March 2015 to ratify a proposal to allow stakeholder representation in the UEFA Executive Committee. This proposal formed part of the renewed Memorandum of Understanding between ECA and UEFA signed in 2015. Initially, former ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (FC Bayern München) and Andrea Agnelli (Juventus) attended the UEFA Executive Committee as "co-opted" members. As of September 2017, ECA is represented as full members by ECA Chairman Andrea Agnelli and Executive Board Member Ivan Gazidis (Arsenal FC).
The inclusion of club members in the UEFA Executive Committee is a major achievement for ECA and a strong statement of UEFA's commitment to modern and dynamic governance models. Most importantly, it is an unequivocal acknowledgement of the clubs' importance and contribution to the European game. Moreover, it underlines and further strengthens the excellent relationship and cooperation between ECA and UEFA.
Creation of UEFA Club Competitions SA
The UEFA Club Competition SA (UCC SA) is a subsidiary company of UEFA, which will deal exclusively with European club competitions and be equally managed and controlled by ECA and UEFA representatives. Half of the members of the Board are appointed by UEFA and the other half by ECA. Likewise, ECA and UEFA provide the same numbers of managing directors.
The purpose of the Company is to provide professional services to UEFA in order to ensure that the commercial rights to the UEFA club competitions are managed and exploited in the most efficient and effective manner.
More precisely, UCC SA's role is to advise and make recommendations to the UEFA Club Competitions Committee on strategic business matters and opportunities for its consideration before being referred up to the UEFA Executive Committee for approval, such as:
- marketing: the exploitation of marketing rights including media, sponsorship, licensing;
- operations: the operational plan including staging, management and operations and cost allocations;
- business affairs: rights framework and protection, regulatory and institutional issues;
- finance: financial competition planning, budgets, forecasts and actuals;
- new business opportunities including those in respect of revenue generation, promotional activities and cost control.
The UCC SA does not deal with sporting matters, but only with business matters. Following the inclusion of two club officials as members of UEFA’s Executive Committee, this development is another major break-through for clubs in their relationship with the European football governing body.
MORE INFLUENCE THROUGH UEFA CLUB COMPETITIONS COMMITTEE
Over the years, ECA managed to further increase the role of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee, wielding more meaningful influence on top-level decision-making. The UEFA Club Competitions Committee, which is composed exclusively of club representatives, refers directly to the UEFA Executive Committee and will retain a "Referral Right" on a number of issues affecting clubs or club competitions. It will also be informed and consulted on marketing and financial matters. The 16 club representatives in the Club Competitions Committee are appointed by ECA.
CREATION OF FIFA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL DEPARTMENT
ECA confirmed in March 2015 that a collaboration agreement with FIFA was signed and saw the creation of the FIFA Professional Football Department, composed of FIFA, ECA and player representatives. The body serves as a platform to discuss all matters related to professional football, and makes recommendations to the FIFA Committees, in particular the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee. For example, any changes to the International Match Calendar or the principles of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players require explicit consent from ECA. ECA now has a strong mandate to promote clubs' interests at FIFA level and develop a more collaborative working relationship with the world governing body.
FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee
Recommendations made by the FIFA Professional Football Deaprtment are presented to the newly-established FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee. The FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee brings together confederations, national associations, leagues, clubs, as well as former players to advise and assist the FIFA Council on all matters relating to football, particularly the structure of the game, as well as on all technical matters. The committee also deals with the relationship between clubs, players, leagues, member associations, confederations and FIFA, as well as with issues relating to the interests of club football worldwide. ECA has been granted four seats in this committee.