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Brussels, 17 September 2009

Commission organises Conference on Licensing Systems for Club Competitions

The licensing systems for club competitions, including financial discipline, will be on the agenda of an EU conference organised in Brussels on the 17-18 September 2009 by the European Commission. Representatives of football federations, leagues, clubs, players and supporters as well as of other team sports with an interest in licensing system will exchange views and share good practices on this topic.

Commenting on the high level of interest raised by the conference among sport stakeholders, Ján Figel', European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, notes that " This conference is the first of its kind in Europe and the expectations of the interested stakeholders are very high. The conference will allow interested parties to discuss a series of topics related to the usefulness of licensing systems as a tool for ensuring the integrity of sport competitions and for promoting good governance in sport".

The conference will gather representatives of football including UEFA, the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), the European Club Association (ECA), the players' union FIFPro, and football fans, as well as representatives of other team sports.

The list of topics includes UEFA' club licensing system as an example of good practice in licensing at the European level. The latest developments in European football concerning the approval in Monaco in August 2009 by UEFA's Professional Football Strategy Council of the "financial fair play" concept will be discussed in this context.

The conference will also address the issue of financial discipline as a key element of licensing systems, both as a tool to ensure that no club drops out of a competition for finance-related reasons and to promote financial fairness among clubs participating in the same competition.

Additional topics explored by the conference include the importance of licensing systems in fostering improvements in infrastructure and investment, as well as the distinctive features of licensing systems implemented in club competitions outside football, in sports such as rugby, basketball and handball.

The conference will be opened by Commissioner Ján Figel'. A final panel with representatives of the main stakeholders will discuss the merits of licensing systems to promote good governance and organisation in sport and will draw lessons from the conference. By organising this conference, the European Commission implements Action 47 of the "Pierre de Coubertin" Action Plan which accompanies the 2007 White Paper on Sport.

A press corner with Mr Figel' and the keynote speakers representing UEFA, EPFL and ECA will be organised at 13:40 on 17 September at the Hilton Hotel in Brussels, just before the conference begins at 14:00.

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