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Member of the European Commission for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth
Financial Fair Play helping to preserve the real values of football, says Commissioner
Informal meeting of EU Sport Ministers
Rome, 21 October 2014
I have had the opportunity already to discuss the idea of Financial Fair Play with [UEFA] President Michel Platini. I know the importance of this tool in promoting fairness of competitions and giving each team a chance. It is part of an overall policy to preserve the real values of football, its roots and what makes it a success.
While money in sport is certainly welcome to help its development, it must not be at the expense of the very nature of sport.
That is why Financial Fair Play (FFP) is in my view a key tool to ensure transparency and to promote better governance standards within sport.
We wholeheartedly agree with the central objective of FFP, namely to "live within your means" or "break even", as it ensures prudent economic management that will serve to protect both the interests of individual clubs and players as well as the football sector in Europe as a whole.
The European Commission has already recognised the relevance of the objectives of Financial Fair Play.
Both EU State Aid rules and UEFA objectives help introduce discipline and rationality in football club finances.
However, the implementation on the ground of the philosophy of Financial fair Play can take different forms.
As representative of the European Commission, you will easily understand that I must remain prudent. As you may be aware, a complaint lodged by a players' agent last year is still under consideration. This complaint was lodged with the European Commission and also a Brussels Court. It concerns the compatibility of Financial Fair Play with EU Competition law.
The European Commission has not yet taken a position although a decision will be forthcoming shortly.
However, I can ensure you that the Commission will cooperate with UEFA in its efforts to promote a more transparent and fair football.
Last week I signed together with President Platini an arrangement for cooperation recognizing the validity of the objectives of Financial Fair Play.
We also agreed on a method of cooperation which will structure the dialogue between the Commission and UEFA in the coming years.
I consider this arrangement for cooperation to be an important legacy for my successor.
I am sure that our relations will continue to develop in the same spirit of cooperation and partnership.