Prime Minister Peter Fiala meets UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin

Czech Republic, 24 November – On 23 November 2022, Prime Minister Petr Fiala met with Aleksandar Ceferin, President of UEFA, and Petr Vosk, President of the Football Association of the Czech Republic (FACR) . The meeting with senior football officials was about the ‘Sport and Society’ model of sport and football in Europe and the cooperation of football associations with the government and UEFA.

The main topic under discussion was the ‘Sport and Society’ model of sport and football in Europe. This model is based on a hierarchical system where one 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 benefits smaller clubs that raise talented players. The transfer of Czech player and national team captain Tomas Soček from Slavia Praha (First Division, Czech Republic) to English club West Ham United (First Division, England) at the start of the 2020/2021 season is a great example. This transfer brought €40,000 to a small football club in Havlishkov Brod. The model also motivates smaller local clubs to try and expand their youth base as much as possible. UEFA stipulates that 97% of the total budget of the organization goes to the lower levels, that is, to the national organizations and the clubs themselves.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin thanked Prime Minister Fiala and the government for their support of UEFA and the “Sport and Society” model during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union. He stressed the Czech position taken at the European Court of Justice session in July. UEFA is involved in a lawsuit with the Premier League, which was established in April 2021 and originally consisted of 12 clubs from three countries. The competition will only be open to elite organizations and will not allow clubs from most countries to participate. Thus the idea behind the Premier League was in direct contradiction to the current solidarity system guaranteed by UEFA’s structure.

The Czech Republic supported UEFA in the aforementioned dispute, because the current model works not only from an economic point of view, but mainly from the point of view of sport and society. The proposed change means less support for amateur and youth football teams,Prime Minister Peter Fiala said. Solidarity and the resulting support for young people, guaranteed by the current model, is crucial for football and sport in general and is a prerequisite for talent development and support for children’s and youth’s sporting activities.Viala added.

The “Sport and Society” model also brings other advantages. UEFA redistributes the funds generated from television, advertising and marketing rights to the clubs. This allows investment in the development of youth, coaches, talent development and the continuity of the model.

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