Commission to keep eye on licensing systems
By Marianne Slegers | Friday 18 September 2009
Main European stakeholders from the world of football, rugby, basketball and handball discussed ways to put in place licensing systems for club competition, including financial discipline, on 17 and 18 September in Brussels, at a conference funded by the European Commission. The EU executive believes that the UEFA club licensing system serves as a “great example of good practice” in licensing at the European level. One of the key issues at the conference was ‘financial fair play’ in European football, a concept that was introduced by the Union of European FootballAssociations (UEFA) recently.
According to UEFA General Secretary David Taylor, “We have to elaborate on detailed rules which could be put in place for this. Then, if you have this, you of course need rules for cases of non-compliance as well”. UEFA has threatened earlier this month to exclude clubs from its competitions if their financial situation is unhealthy.
Jan Figel, the European commissioner for education, training, culture and youth, said that the “Commission has no intention to replace sports governing bodies in their role as guardians of the rules of the game and of the smooth functioning of competitions”. He stressed that “We explicitly acknowledge the autonomy of sports organisations and of their representative structures”. However, he also said that “it is the responsibility of the Commission to make sure that the systems and regulations that govern European sports do not infringe EU law”. Financial criteria are often used in sports licensing systems with the aim to ensure that no club drops out of competition due to financial reasons and to promote ‘financial fairness’ among clubs participating in the same competition.