What is UEFA?

UEFAUEFA, the abbreviation for the Union of European Football Associations, is the administrative body for football played in Europe. While the organization governs football in Europe, some of the members of UEFA are in Asia. UEFA is primarily known for running the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA European Championship. This article will address the history of UEFA as well as the structure of the organization and competitions which are governed by the association.


UEFA  was established in Basel in Switzerland in 1954. The association was created after consultations took place between the national football associations of Belgium, France and Italy. Shortly after the establishment of the organization, more national football associations joined. Within a few years, the organization had a total of 25 members. This number doubled by the early 1990s. Most members of UEFA are recognized as sovereign states. However, there are a few members which are not recognized as a sovereign state but form part of a recognized sovereign state in relation to international law. Some examples of members which fall under this category are Scotland, Wales, England and the Faroe Islands. As mentioned earlier, some members  of UEFA are fully or partly located in Asia. Transcontinental states are Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. There are also countries which used to be part of the Asian Football Confederation but have been admitted to the European football organization. This was the case, for example, with Kazakhstan and Israel. The first general secretary of UEFA was Henri Delaunay. Henri Delaunay used to be a football player himself, but stopped his football career and became a referee. He then continued as general secretary of UEFA and held office until 1955. He was then succeeded by his son Pierre Delaunay.


Two of the biggest member associations of UEFA are the Spanish Liga and the English Premier League. The Spanish Liga is the top professional football association of the Spanish football league. La Liga is a competition played by a total of 20 teams. The three teams which have the least points at the end of the season are relegated and become part of the Segunda Division, which is the second highest football competition in Spain. The two teams which end up at the top of the Segunda Division get to play in La Liga which the best football teams in Spain. Teams such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid all play in La Liga and usually end up with most points in this competition. The Premier League is the professional league for football in the United Kingdom. The Premier League is the highest football league system. Similar to La Liga, the Premier League also has a total of 20 member clubs. The British Premier League is considered to be the most-watched football league in the world. The Premier League is watched in almost every country in the world and has a potential audience of 4,7 billion people. Some of the best teams play in the Premier League. For example, teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all play in the Premier League. In 2015-2016, it was not one of these teams that won the title of the Premier League. During this year, it was Leicester City that won the competition. Leicester City winning the Premier League came as a big surprise to everyone since the football team had never the competition before.


The UEFA Congress is the supreme organ of the organization. The Congress is the controlling body of UEFA. An Ordinary Congress is held every year. In case financial matters have to be addresses or other topics of particular significance, it is possible for a second Ordinary Congress to be held. It is the UEFA Executive Committee which can call for an extra Ordinary Congress. The Executive Committee decides upon a set of different topics. For example, the committee is the body which elects the UEFA President, the Executive Committee members and also elects the European members of the FIFA Council. Also, the Executive Committee is also responsible for acknowledging the financial report. They decide upon the general account and on the budget of the organization. Moreover, if amendments want to be introduced or made to the UEFA Statutes, these also have to be accepted and agreed upon by the members of the Executive Committee. Additionally, if new members want to join the association, it is the Executive Committee which decided upon their membership. In the same way can members be excluded by the committee. Under the Executive Committee are the subsidiaries, the Professional Football Strategy Council, the General Secretary Administration, the Committees and the Expert Panels. The current General Secretary of UEFA is Theodore Theodoris. The Greek national has been the Deputy General Secretary for years and is currently the interim General Secretary until the next elections are held by the UEFA Congress. UEFA can also give a person the status of honorary president or honorary membership to the organization. This is the case if the UEFA Congress and the UEFA Executive Committee agree that the individual has contributed to European football  in a meaningful and important way. Individuals with the honorary status can attend the Congress and meetings of the Executive Committee, however they cannot vote since they only take an advisory role.


UEFA is in charge of different international competitions held in Europe as well as in South-West, Central and Northern Asia for professional clubs. They also organize competitions for national teams. The competitions are often referred to as UEFA competitions. These competitions are considered to be some of the world’s most prestigious tournaments. One of the most popular competitions organized by UEFA is the European Football Championship. This competition was first organized In 1958. The first finals of this competition were held in 1960. This competition is now commonly known as the EURO or the European Championship. Like the World Cup organized by FIFA, the European Championship is held every four years in a different country. Besides this competition, UEFA also organizes competitions for women’s national football teams. For example, they organize the competition for Women Under -19, the UEFA Women’s Championship and they organize the tournament referred to Women’s Under-17. UEFA also organizes a popular tournament to give youth football a boost and motivate young football players to continue playing soccer. This tournament is referred to as UEFA-CAP Meridian Cup and is organized in cooperation with CAF. The national teams of Germany, France, Italy and Spain are the only teams which have won the European Football Championships in all categories. This includes the smaller tournaments as well as the big international tournaments. Another top-ranked tournament organized by UEFA is the Champions League. The Champions League was first organized in 1992. During this tournament the top four teams of each national league compete for the title during the Champions League. It is not always the case that each country sends four teams to the Champions League. This is dependent on the ranking  of the country. This means that a country could also send one team to the competition depending on its ranking.


Similar to the World Cup, the EURO is  also a competition which attracts many sponsors. Brands spend millions of dollars to become a sponsor of some of the biggest international tournaments organized. Since football tournaments are watched all over the world, they are a popular marketing strategy. Some of the biggest sponsors of the UEFA Champions League are Nissan, Gazprom and Heineken. However, commercials of Heineken are restricted in certain countries. For example, in France, Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan, alcohol sponsorship is forbidden. In these countries it is therefore not allowed to show alcohol commercials. The signs of Heineken are in these countries replaced with other slogans. These slogans include “Open your World”, “Enjoy Responsibly”, or “Respect”. Another big sponsor of the UEFA Champions League is MasterCard. MasterCard commercials are shown during half-time as well as before and after the football games. Sony, UniCredit and PepsiCo are also official sponsors of this international tournament. Adidas is not considered to be one of the main sponsors but is referred to a secondary sponsor. Adidas does not only supply the official ball of the international tournament, but also supplies the referee uniforms for all the UEFA competitions.


Fans which have been dissatisfied with the organization of UEFA have referred to it as UEFA Mafia. Accusations are made against officials in the top football leagues in Russia and Bulgaria. UEFA officials have also been accused of prefixing Champions League group stages and the matches. In 2015, a big corruption case was made against FIFA officials. The president of UEFA was also involved  in this corruption case. The president of UEFA is Michel Platini. In the corruption case, former FIFA President Sepp Blatter was accused of making a payment to Michel Platini of over two million dollars. This case started in 2015 and both presidents are still under investigation. In order to investigate the corruption case FIFA created an independent ethics committee. Shortly after the start of the investigation, UEFA President Platini was suspended for 90 days. This suspension implied that he could not be related to any football activity. During his suspension he was also not allowed to attend UEFA meetings or have any say in the issues being discussed.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 1625x
Added: 18-08-2016 23:03
Last modified: 25-08-2016 10:02

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