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New report: how European football associations implement UEFA’s club licensing system | Inside UEFA

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What is the report called and why is it unique?

The UEFA Club Licensing System: Overview of Implementation and Application across Europe is the first comprehensive overview of European football’s governance and regulatory structures.

In addition to explaining how UEFA’s club licensing system works, the digital report documents the organisation of all Europe’s 55 associations, detailing the types of regulations and requirements in place. Packed with historical data, there is also a valuable comparison of licensors and their regulations, as well as an analysis of domestic club licensing and club monitoring systems.

Why did UEFA introduce its club licensing system?

UEFA launched the system in 2004 to establish a set of common regulatory and governance standards for the constantly changing European football landscape.

 


 

How does the system work?

All clubs that qualify on sporting merit for UEFA club competitions must be granted a licence before they can actually take part in the tournament. The licence confirms each club has met UEFA’s minimum standards. Either the UEFA member association or league acts as the licensor, assessing each applicant according to five criteria: sporting, infrastructure, personnel and administrative, legal and financial.

How does UEFA ensure one system fits all scenarios?

Flexibility. UEFA sets minimum standards that must be respected across the continent, with licensors free to adapt them to their national context or needs and introduce additional criteria or higher standards. Licensors can also choose whether to apply club licensing principles only to clubs that have qualified for UEFA club competitions or for their domestic competitions as well.

How has the licensing system guided national associations and clubs in limiting the financial impact of the COVID-19 virus on football?

UEFA’s regulatory framework has helped European clubs and national associations to adapt to football’s unprecedented period of inactivity in the first half of 2020. For example, by helping identify alternative measures to protect clubs’ ongoing financial viability as well as the integrity of UEFA competitions.

By legally enshrining the financial obligations of national associations and clubs towards their employees, the club licensing system has also played a critical role in safeguarding the livelihoods of people working in the football world: from professional players to the administrative, technical, medical and security staffs.

How is UEFA helping national associations to improve standards of governance across European football?

Over the years, the club licensing system has allowed UEFA to build a large database of information related to the governance and regulatory structures in place throughout European football. This has informed many benchmarking analyses, including the annual UEFA Club Licensing Benchmarking Report.

By strengthening regulatory structures, the club licensing system also offers a legal framework for national associations to implement and advance core social and humanitarian values. These include: proportionality, equal treatment, non-discrimination and subsidiarity.

Does UEFA’s club licensing system apply to women’s football?

A club licensing system for women’s football was introduced in 2018 as part of UEFA’s drive to accelerate development of the female game. It will be applied for the first time as part of the admission process for the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League.


UEFA football club licensing 2004–2019: passing the test

68% clubs granted a UEFA licence

14% clubs refused a UEFA licence

18% did not apply for a UEFA licence

2019

582 out of 715 top-division clubs apply for a UEFA licence

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