Istanbul, March 22: The 36th Congress of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) began in Istanbul Thursday with participation of representatives from 53 member associations.
FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among those present at the meeting.
The congress will listen to reports of the UEFA President and the Executive Committee and Report of the UEFA Administration 2010/11, reports on the UEFA committees’ activities.
Also on the agenda are the annual UEFA statement of accounts for 2010/11 and discussion on the budget for the 2012/13 financial year, and European Social Dialogue: Approval of agreement on minimum player contract requirements.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a passionate football fan, spoke of the need for football to be a symbol of peace and friendship.
He urged continued work and investment to encourage as many young people as possible to become involved in sport, and called on sport to fight negative phenomena such as match-fixing and racism.
“I’d like to thank UEFA for coming back to Turkey and Istanbul. Turkey is a country which is in love with football and whose people contribute to football. We are building new facilities and are making our presence more noticeable,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Istanbul had hosted the 2005 UEFA Champions League final and 2009 UEFA Cup final in recent years, and Antalya will stage the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship this summer. In addition, Turkey will stage the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Blatter highlighted the importance of UEFA to the world football movement. “Thank you to the UEFA Executive Committee and the UEFA President Michel Platini for the excellent relationship which exists between UEFA and FIFA,” he said. “Congratulations to Europe for all the efforts that you are making to ensure that the game remains a game.”