UEFA played a key role in the SIGA General Assembly and Sport Integrity Forum recently held in Lisbon, Portugal.

Speaking after the Forum on the importance of SIGA, the UEFA Managing Director of Communications, Pedro Pinto, said: “Integrity is a key word in sport.  It has always been historically, but, in light of the reputational damage that has been done recently, there is an additional responsibility for an organisation like UEFA to be part of the change.”

Acknowledging SIGA’s key role and convening power, Pedro Pinto, who is responsible for the UEFA’s corporate messaging and acts as an official spokesman for the organisation, stated in unequivocal terms:  “I see SIGA as an important movement, and considering the stakeholders that are present, the influencers who are present, the decision-makers, we want to be part of that. It is more than just PR and communications. UEFA’s presence at an event like this is to try to be part of the change and a new image that sport will give and football will give in the future.”

Speaking more generally about the necessity for transparency in sport and UEFA’s efforts to improve this, he added:  “We cannot lie to the consumer, who are our stakeholders. We have to be as open as possible about all the processes, how decisions are made and who has influence over particular areas of football. What we have tried to do, especially after the new president, Aleksander Ceferin, was elected last September, is introduce a series of reforms to improve the transparency of UEFA. For example, there are now term limits for the president and ExCo members and there is now an open and transparent bidding process for all major tournament finals that UEFA organises.”

During the SIGA General Assembly, Pinto highlighted some of the reforms brought in by Aleksander Ceferin since taking post as President of UEFA, including term limits for positions on the Executive Committee, a transparent bidding process for choosing the hosts of the Champions League and the incorporation of all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process within UEFA.  Pinto expressed unanimity within the European football community on the priorities of preserving good governance and underlined UEFA’s motivation to enter into dialogue with SIGA on good governance reform.

SIGA Coordinator Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros said:  “For over a decade, as founder and CEO of the European Leagues, I have urged UEFA to enhance its governance system and democratise its decision-making structures by conferring direct representation to leagues and clubs in its Executive Committee. Congratulations to President Ceferin and his team for implementing this and other important reforms in a number of key areas. I trust UEFA will continue on this path and inspire other organisations to follow its example. We, at SIGA, are ready to support UEFA and welcome UEFA’s engagement in the development of our reform agenda.”

As SIGA continues to build its momentum after last month’s historic Sport Integrity Forum and General Assembly, where Italian judge Franco Frattini was elected as the first independent Chair, UEFA’s support will be increasingly important in restoring people’s trust in the sport industry, and safeguard its integrity in the future.