ECA General Secretary Michele Centenaro was invited to speak at the 2012 Hockey Forum organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in Barcelona, Spain.
The event, which aims at involving all stakeholders in an open discussion on the current challenges facing European ice hockey, was as well attended by several representatives from other sports, such as football, handball and basketball. The involvement of different sports aimed at sharing knowledge on specific matters.
The goal of the first event day was to make the participants understand what constitutes the foundation for a competitively and commercially viable top European club competition in ice hockey.
Following interventions by representatives from Euroleague Basketball and the European Handball Federation, ECA General Secretary Michele Centenaro gave a presentation about the success story of European club football and its flagship competition, the UEFA Champions League.
Special emphasis was given to the history of ECA and its involvment in the decision-making process at European level. In this respect, he described in a bit more detail the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between ECA and UEFA, which marks a new milestone in the relationship between clubs and national associations. "You have to be challenging, not confrontational," he said about the partnership with UEFA. "You have to be good, well-prepared and reasonable. You have to claim things that make sense. Today we have gone to a sentiment of mutual trust."
With regard to the current club competitions, he explained that the European clubs highly appreciate the success of the UEFA Champions League. A permanent European league has gone out of discussion: "The European competitions are the icing on the cake. Clubs want to retain their national and local identity.
ECA will continue exchanging thoughts and ideas with different sports as knowledge sharing can only be beneficial for all stakeholders involved.