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Prime Minister Petr Fiala meets with UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin

CZECH REPUBLIC, November 24 - On 23 November 2022, Prime Minister Petr Fiala met with Aleksander Čeferin, President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), and Petr Fousek, President of the Football Association of the Czech Republic (FACR). The meeting with top football officials was mainly about the “sports and society” model of sports and football in Europe and the cooperation of football associations with the government and the European Union.

The main matter under discussion was the “sports and society” model of sports and football in Europe. This model is based on a pyramidal system where a single national football association (FACR in the Czech Republic) is responsible for all football events in its country. The whole pyramid is also linked in terms of finances and it benefits the small clubs that bring up talented players. The transfer of Czech player and national team captain Tomáš Souček from SK Slavia Praha (top division, Czech Republic) to English club West Ham United (top division, England) at the beginning of the 2020/2021 season is a great example. This transfer brought EUR 40 000 to a small football club in Havlíčkův Brod. The model also motivates small local clubs to try to expend their youth base as much as possible. UEFA states that 97% of the organisation’s total budget goes to the lower tiers, i.e. to the national organisations and the clubs themselves.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin thanked Prime Minister Fiala and the government for their support of UEFA and the “sports and society” model during the Czech Presidency of the EU Council. He emphasised the Czech position taken at the European Court of Justice hearing in July. UEFA is engaged in a lawsuit with the Super League, established in April 2021, which originally consisted of 12 clubs from three countries. The competition would only be open to elite organisations and would not allow clubs from most countries to participate. The idea behind the Super League was thus in direct conflict with the existing system of solidarity guaranteed by the UEFA structure.

The Czech Republic has supported UEFA in the above-mentioned dispute, because the current model is functional not only from an economic point of view, but mainly from the point of view of sports and society. The proposed change would mean less support for amateur and youth football teams,” said Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Solidarity and the resulting support for young people, guaranteed by the current model, is absolutely crucial for football and sports in general and it is a fundamental prerequisite for nurturing talent and supporting the sporting activities of children and young people,” Fiala added.

The “sports and society” model also brings other benefits. The funds generated from TV, advertising and marketing rights are redistributed by UEFA back to the clubs. This enables investment in youth development, coaches, talent growth and continuation of the model.