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Solidarity in professional football: European associations, leagues, clubs, players and fans gather for PACE parliamentary hearing

The impact of COVID-19 on football, and the need for greater financial solidarity in the sport, will be among themes tackled by top officials from all sides of the world of professional European football at a PACE virtual parliamentary hearing on 4 December 2020.

Giving players and fans a greater say in running the sport, as well as protecting young players from abuse and supporting their personal development, will also be discussed at the hearing on “Football governance: business and values”, organised by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Officials from FIFA, UEFA, the Association of European Professional Football Leagues, the European Club Association and the professional players’ association FIFPRO are due to take part, as well as representatives of three European supporters’ associations, officials from the Council of Europe dealing with sport, and MPs from across Europe.

“There are too many wide gaps in football,” said Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (United Kingdom, SOC), a former Chairman of Scottish club Heart of Midlothian, who is preparing a major report for the Assembly into football governance. “Between the professional and the grassroots level; between the richest leagues and the rest; between the richest clubs and the poorest; between the richest players and the others. We will be looking at how to encourage greater solidarity.”

The report, due to be debated next year by the Assembly, will summarise the current state of play across Europe, and make recommendations to partners and governments. PACE is the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights organisation.

The audition takes place between 9.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. CET on Friday 4th December, and will be livestreamed here in five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Russian).