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Top Executive Programme

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By initiating and facilitating two landslide decisions in European football, following the wishes of many associations’ top executives, UEFA’s Top Executive Programme (TEP) already has made a tangible difference for national associations:

• The enlargement of the UEFA European Championship final round from 16 to 24 nations, starting in 2016. This historic decision will help to develop the game further across many associations, in sporting, social and financial terms.

• The centralisation of the media rights of national team qualification matches (“The European Qualifiers”), starting in 2014. Preceding this decision, TEP already assisted many associations by providing information on the true value of their media rights and thus enabling associations to negotiate better media rights deals. This work proved to be the step-up for the landslide decision to centralise all these rights in order to optimise further the exposure and values of national team football.

Both decisions will result in substantial higher and guaranteed revenues for associations, allowing them to invest even more in football and grassroots development, good governance and social responsibility activities.

Besides higher revenues, UEFA’s Top Executive Programme also helped associations to save costs via:

• UEFA Kit Assistance Scheme: 13 of the smallest associations receive a basic football kit and equipment package for free for their senior national team and under-21 team, as well as for their top referees. This scheme saves them up to €300,000 each per two years.

• Football Management Systems project: 18 associations asked for this free UEFA service of analysing the current status and potential needs regarding their IT/FMS solutions. Some associations used the outcomes for internal solutions, other associations participated in a centralised FMS tender meeting, organised by TEP, choosing the most suitable provider for their new FMS system. The centralised tender helped these associations to find the best systems and to save costs. By the end of 2013, these, and thus all UEFA national associations will have good FMS systems to run their domestic and international operations in an effective and efficient way.

Another remarkable result of the programme is the creation of the first cross-border competition ever with a direct link to UEFA competitions. TEP played a key role in the development of the BeNe League, a cross-border league between the highest women’s divisions in Belgium and the Netherlands, and is offering the same service to other associations with similar requests.

All these results are no coincidence. They originate from a clear fact-based and result-oriented strategy which started in 2005. The vision behind UEFA’s Top Executive Programme is to support associations' top executives in their decision-making roles. This is done by providing them with highly relevant facts and figures, also via databases, and coaching them to use that information to further develop their game, their organisation and their business. The key success factors of the programme are: fact-based (“know your top executives in their local context”), demand-driven (“we go where the associations take us”), result-oriented (rather than tool-oriented) and focus on tangible development rather than on education.

TEP also organises small discussion platforms (TEP round tables) to listen to the needs and wishes of associations’ top management as well as to give and receive feedback on the results. These informal get-togethers are special in that UEFA does not set an agenda with one-sided presentations. It is an open floor on which the participants talk, and not UEFA. The discussions at these round-table events involve presidents and general secretaries of the UEFA member associations and, thus far, have focused particularly on individual and collective possibilities to increase revenue and/or save costs, as well as to improve their governance and social responsibi¬lity efforts. This evidently entails discussion on the latest trends and developments in the world of football.

The promising results have stimulated UEFA to extend this successful philosophy to all areas where the associations’ top executives have to take decisions. This approach will ultimately provide a platform for supporting associations on a one-to-one tailored consultancy basis.

UEFA’s Top Executive Programme is headed by Marc Esselink. Advisory managers Tom Gorissen and Simon Patrik and assistant Elena Guiguiiak complete the TEP team. TEP is part of the national associations division under director and UEFA deputy General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis. Both Marc Esselink and Theodore Theodoridis have a long history and broad experience at the associations of their respective countries, Netherlands and Greece.

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