• SOURCE: UEFA

PRESIDENT 5 (FR)

ID

374296

Description
And there are battles that never end, where we cannot ever lower our guard. I am thinking here of attempted political interference in association business, but also, of course, of our efforts to stamp out match-fixing, doping, violence, racism and other forms of discrimination. Even if we sometimes have the bitter feeling that these battles are matches that we cannot win, we have to keep playing until the end, until the final whistle is blown. We have to play as if it was a cup final – as if it was the most important game of our lives. Unfortunately, I have two worrying developments to report today. The first is that Europe is seeing a rise in nationalism and extremism the like of which we have not witnessed for a very long time. This insidious trend can also be observed in our stadiums, as football is a reflection of society. Given its popularity, our sport is a barometer for the ills of our continent. And that barometer is pointing to some worrying developments. The second is that, in these battles that we are fighting, we feel as if we have been left to fend for ourselves somewhat. And yet, these are battles that can only be won with the help of the public authorities. You are not, we are not legislators, judges or police officers. We do what we can with the means – the limited means – available to us. I therefore renew my call for greater awareness of this issue among the public authorities, so that we can avoid reliving the dark days of a not-so-distant past – a past where hooligans and all manner of fanatics called the shots in certain European stadiums. In recent months, we have all been struck by certain images that I thought were a thing of the past. Some of us experienced that past at first hand. In my case, it was exactly 30 years ago … Nobody wants a repeat of such events. We need tougher stadium bans at European level and – I will say it again – the creation of a European sports police force. This is something I starting calling for back in 2007, just after I was first elected.
Shotlist
And there are battles that never end, where we cannot ever lower our guard. I am thinking here of attempted political interference in association business, but also, of course, of our efforts to stamp out match-fixing, doping, violence, racism and other forms of discrimination. Even if we sometimes have the bitter feeling that these battles are matches that we cannot win, we have to keep playing until the end, until the final whistle is blown. We have to play as if it was a cup final – as if it was the most important game of our lives. Unfortunately, I have two worrying developments to report today. The first is that Europe is seeing a rise in nationalism and extremism the like of which we have not witnessed for a very long time. This insidious trend can also be observed in our stadiums, as football is a reflection of society. Given its popularity, our sport is a barometer for the ills of our continent. And that barometer is pointing to some worrying developments. The second is that, in these battles that we are fighting, we feel as if we have been left to fend for ourselves somewhat. And yet, these are battles that can only be won with the help of the public authorities. You are not, we are not legislators, judges or police officers. We do what we can with the means – the limited means – available to us. I therefore renew my call for greater awareness of this issue among the public authorities, so that we can avoid reliving the dark days of a not-so-distant past – a past where hooligans and all manner of fanatics called the shots in certain European stadiums. In recent months, we have all been struck by certain images that I thought were a thing of the past. Some of us experienced that past at first hand. In my case, it was exactly 30 years ago … Nobody wants a repeat of such events. We need tougher stadium bans at European level and – I will say it again – the creation of a European sports police force. This is something I starting calling for back in 2007, just after I was first elected.
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