On 14 October 2014 the European Commission and the Union of European Football Associates (UEFA) signed an Arrangement of Cooperation (the “Agreement”) which shall expire on 17 December 2017. The Agreement comes as UEFA celebrates its 60th Anniversary and is “intended to strengthen the positive image of sport, in particular football, and fully exploit its potential in all areas of economic and social life. and the European Union”.
The Agreement addresses a range of common sporting issues (including match-fixing, doping, discrimination, player transfers and agents) alongside a commitment to increase effective protection of intellectual property rights. More specifically Article 2.12 states “The exploitation of intellectual property rights represents an important source of income for professional football, including redistribution to lower levels of the football pyramid. It is also a tool to guarantee independent financing of football in Europe. Thus, the effective protection of intellectual property rights also in this field is important and should be ensured.”
The Agreement provides strong support for UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) initiative stating “measures to encourage greater rationality and discipline in club finances with a focus on the long-term as opposed to short-term, such as the Financial Fair Play initiative, contribute to the sustainable development and healthy growth of sport in Europe”.
The parties have committed to regular bilateral and ad hoc meetings during the term (including a target of holding senior level meetings at least once a year). Finally, in order to further promote the social role of sport, in particular in relation to health and physical activity, the Agreement envisages collaboration between the parties in the context of the planned European Week of Sport.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for sport, said: “This agreement is a significant step forward in our cooperation with UEFA, which is an important partner for the European Commission in its dialogue with the world of sport.”