Four of the five newly composed ECA Working Groups and the Leagal Advisory Panel have met for the first time over the last few weeks and have set the agenda for the 2015-17 membership cycle. Below is a summary of the respective meetings. Additional information on the composition together with the mission of the ECA Working Groups can be found on the following page. The next meetings of the ECA Working Groups will be held on the 8th of February in Paris, on the occasion of the 16th ECA General Assembly.
Competitions Working Group
The Competitions Working Group gathered in Munich on the 16th November for its inaugural meeting of the new cycle. Chaired by ECA First Vice-Chairman Umberto Gandini, the discussions mainly centred on the format of the UEFA Club Competitions for the 2018-21 competitions cycle. Some innovative ideas were brought to the table, with the main concerns being the current format of the qualification phase for both the UCL and the UEL, as well as the future format of the UCL. The discussions will continue at the next working group meeting. Furthermore, feedback was provided on the last UEFA CCC meeting and a discussion on the summer transfer window was held.
Institutional Relations Working Group
Under the Chairmanship of ECA Executive Board Member Theodore Giannikos, the Institutional Relations Working Group equally met in Munich on the 16th of November. The meeting covered a number of important issues including the latest developments at FIFA and UEFA level, governance issues at national level, the recent complaint issued by FIFPro with the European Commission against the current transfer system, and an update on EU affairs. The meeting proved lively and engaging with members sharing opinions on how to pursue and position ECA on all the key dossiers addressed.
Marketing & Communication Working Group
The members of the ECA Marketing & Communication Working Group met at the Old Trafford in Manchester on the 15th of December. Under the chairmanship of ECA Executive Board Member Ed Woodward, the working group members gathered to discuss important marketing-related topics and exchange knowledge and best practices. Amongst others, the present members were updated on key figures relating to TV audiences for club competitions, and discussed media rights issues in light of the 2018-21 competitions cycle. Additionally, Manchester United FC and Ferencvárosi TC shared interesting case studies with regards to Venue Sales Marketing and Brand Building respectively. These topics will be further discussed at the next working group meeting.
Youth Working Group
The first ECA Youth Working Group meeting of the 2015/16 season was held in Poznan, on the occasion of the 6th Lech Conference, a one-day event focused on youth football and reuniting over 1200 participants. The Youth Working Group is trying to establish KPIs and minimum standards to improve Youth Academies in Europe, not from a hard regulatory perspective but rather as a pragmatic support mechanism to assist in the development of youth infrastructures in Europe across the elite level of the game. The Youth Working Group meeting was followed by both the Lech Conference, attended by club representatives, coaches and former players, and by the Lech Cup, a U-12 youth tournament reuniting 10 clubs from across Europe.
Legal Advisory Panel
Under the chairmanship of Sevilla FC CEO José María Cruz, the members of the ECA Legal Advisory Panel met at the Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Sevilla on the 15th of December to discuss latest legal developments in European club football. The first meeting of the ECA Legal Advisory Panel for the 2015/16 season reunited over 25 legal experts from ECA Member Clubs. Additionally, representatives of the Spanish Professional Football League (LFP) also attended the meeting, sharing with all present members legal issues affecting Spanish club football. Amongst other topics, the legal experts exchanged views on the latest football jurisprudence and regulatory developments, such as the implementation of the FIFA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries in the various countries. The outcomes of the meeting will be further brought up to the ECA Executive Board.