ECA News

The first ECA Workshop on Good Governance at National Level was successfully held today at the Legia Warszawa Stadium in the Polish capital, with over 25 ECA Member Club Representatives attending the one-day event.

Good governance at national level is a very important topic for clubs, as nowadays every club deals with a variety of different stakeholders on a daily basis at its national level. In fact, from the football association to the league, from the possible club association to the players and coaches associations, all these actors impact the very existence of a club in the national sphere. ECA, in its goal to serve all its Member Clubs, decided to organise the first ECA Workshop on Good Governance at National Level with the objective of reuniting its Members and building a constructive dialogue and exchange of knowledge and best practices.

Case studies from Legia Warszawa SA (Poland), Celtic FC (Scotland), Galatasaray SK (Turkey) and the Polish league Ekstraklasa S.A. were presented to the 40 participants from over 25 ECA Member Clubs representing no less than 16 different National Associations. Additionally, ECA Executive Board Members Andrea Agnelli (Juventus) and Theodore Giannikos (Olympiacos FC) addressed the participants in their role as Chairman of the ECA Institutional Relations Working Group and Chairman of the ECA Task Force on Good Governance at National Level respectively.

Following the welcome and introductory remarks from ECA Executive Board Member Andrea Agnelli, the workshop kicked off with the presentation of the work of the ECA Task Force on Good Governance at National level by ECA Executive Board Member Theodore Giannikos. His intervention, focusing on minimum standards of governance at national level, was soon followed by a presentation of an interesting mapping exercise carried out by the ECA Administration, covering various aspects of national governance from over 40 national associations in Europe.

Successively, the first case study of Polish ECA Member Club Legia Warszawa SA, presented by Tomasz Zahorski, Advisor to the Management Board, provided a detailed example of the organisation of Polish professional football focussing on current and future challenges. His intervention was completed by the words of Marcin Animucki, Vice-President of the Polish League, Ekstraklasa SA, who added interesting facts about the division of competences between the league and the national association.

The second case study illustrated the Scottish example with the intervention of Celtic FC Company Secretary Michael Nicholson, who explained the restructuring process which happened at FA and league level, reflected in today's national governance model.

In the afternoon, the third and last case study provided by Galatasaray SK Board Member and General Secretary Ebru Köksal, focused on the peculiar Turkish model, where clubs are organised in a national club association. During her intervention, she outlined in more detail some particular regulations and rules of the Turkish national governance system.

Finally, UEFA Head of Top Executive Programme Mark Esselink explained the work undertaken by UEFA to date  in implementing good governance within the member associations. He stressed the big differences in governance models across Europe, and the need to define the necessary criteria and find the appropriate tools in each specific case in order to realise minimum criteria of governance at first and reach higher criteria at a later stage. He also detailed the different running governance projects submitted by the member associations covering aspects such as strategy, transparency and accountability.

Each presentation was followed by a Q&A session, during which the present members were able to share their issues, ideas and experiences related to the different topics. Discussions amongst the clubs representatives proved very lively, which underlined the need for clubs to meet and exchange thoughts on this topic. The importance of education and exchange of knowledge were considered very important in order to help develop good governance at national level.

Similar to previous ECA Workshops, the first ECA Workshop on Good Governance at National Level turned out to be a great success. In his concluding remarks, ECA Executive Board Member Andrea Agnelli stressed the importance of Good Governance in today's football world irrespective of the national differences and specificities.