ECA Media Release

PSV Eindhoven, Real Madrid CF, Molde FK, ACF Fiorentina, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC all recognised for outstanding achievements - on and off the pitch.

On the occasion of the European Club Association's (ECA) General Assembly, the winners of the 7th Edition of the ECA Awards were announced. First introduced in 2010, the ECA Awards aim at rewarding outstanding club performances, encouraging best practice and highlighting successful club management. The 2016 ECA Awards Winners are:

European Club Of The Year 2016: Real Madrid CF (ESP)

For their outstanding achievements during the 2015/16 season on European and domestic level.

Best Sporting Progress 2016: Molde FK (NOR)

For their significant progress in European competition during the 2015/16 season.

After having been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League during the qualifying rounds in both 2013/14 and 2014/15, Molde FK managed to qualify to the UEFA Europa League Group Stage in 2015/16. Against all odds, they won their group, which included big names including AFC Ajax, Celtic FC and Fenerbahçe SK and qualified to the Round of 32 for the first time in their history. Faced with eventual winners Sevilla FC, they were unable to reach the Round of 16, despite finishing on a high by winning the return leg at their home ground. This great performance has allowed the club to make a significant jump in the UEFA Club Coefficient Ranking 2016, from position 164 to 97.

Best Community & Social Responsibility Programme 2016: PSV Eindhoven (NED)

For their successful CSR programme "PSV United".

"PSV United" was set up in 2011 as a direct response to a growing problem in a neighbourhood of Eindhoven, Mensfort, where vandalism and anti-social behaviour by youngsters was on the rise. Using the unique power and connection of the club with its local community, PSV Eindhoven decided to develop a group-focused educational programme for the youths in which their main interest, the football club, was used as an instrument to achieve defined objectives.Based on bi-weekly training sessions, where a "PSV in the Community Coach" uses football as a tool to address social issues such as health, respect, education and drug awareness and to share positive values, the programme has now expanded to four different neighbourhoods in the city of Eindhoven and reaches out to around 100 youths per season, including a dedicated girls' team. Over the years, the results have been very positive, with a significant decrease in vandalism resulting in increased security for the local residents and better integration between the different communities. This is made possible especially thanks to the continuous involvement of former programme participants throughout the years as lifetime ambassadors as well as assistant-coaches.

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Similar to last year, the ECA CSR Award Winner was chosen by an independent panel which this year was composed of the following members:

  • Peter Gilliéron, UEFA Executive Committee Member and Chairman of the Committee for Fair Play & Social Responsibility at UEFA;
  • Elsbeth Müller, Executive Director of UNICEF Switzerland;
  • Freddie Hudson, Community Manager at Arsenal FC (ECA CSR Award Winner 2015).

Elsbeth Müller presented PSV Eindhoven with the award and congratulated them for their outstanding CSR Programme, stating:

     "The PSV United project advocates children's rights, an assignment UNICEF has engaged in for 70 years now. Every child has a right to engage in play and recreational activities such as sports. PSV Eindhoven uses the children's passion for football to prevent annoyance and troublemaking. They invest time, care, and attention so children develop a sense of responsibility and become caring, responsible citizens. Anti-social behaviours change, security improves, and social skills develop. This project shows that every investment into children pays back in multiple ways - the children of today are the future of our society."

Best Achievement 2016 (Women's Football): Acf Fiorentina (ITA)

For the successful establishment of a professionally affiliated women's football club.

Following the recognition of a Marketing Initiative in 2014 and a Stadium Accessibility Project in 2015, the 2016 Best Achievement Award was dedicated to Women's Football. Women's football has been high on ECA's agenda ever since the creation of the ECA Women's Football Committee back in 2013. For the past three years, ECA has been committed to promoting women's club football and to establishing a dialogue with the relevant stakeholders at European and global level. Further to the organisation of a dedicated workshop on the women's game in March 2016, the ECA Executive Board decided to reward an outstanding initiative on the topic with the ECA Best Achievement Award 2016.In the summer of 2015, ECA Member Club ACF Fiorentina decided to break down barriers and started the first ever professionally affiliated women's football club in Italy, Fiorentina Women's Football Club. For their first season, the newly created club participated in Serie A, Italian's women's football top division, and achieved a great result by finishing third, just one point away from their first ever participation in the UEFA Women's Champions League.

Special Moment 2016: Liverpool FC (ENG) & Borussia Dortmund (GER)

For the unique atmosphere characterised by respect and fair play created by their supporters during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Finals in April 2016.

This year, for the first time, the ECA Executive Board decided to create an additional award dedicated to a "special moment" which marked the 2015/16 club football season. This award aims at highlighting the positive side of football, be it related to a social action or a fair play gesture, which are many times overshadowed by less positive aspects of the game.

The ECA Special Moment Award 2016 rewards the supporters of Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund for the unique atmosphere characterised by respect and fair play created during the quarter-final double-header of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League. The great atmosphere before, during and after each game climaxed in the joint singing of "You'll never walk alone" (the anthem of both clubs) right before kick-off at Signal-Iduna Park in Dortmund and Anfield Stadium in Liverpool respectively.