UEFA has moved to head off the possibility of excessive lobbying during the bidding process for Euro 2020 by banning national associations from offering incentives or cash gifts to UEFA members.
The Press Association reports UEFA’s bid guidelines for the tournament said only “token gifts” valued at less than 300 Swiss francs would be permitted. The development comes after the bidding race for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups saw examples of countries offering donations to governing bodies. The practice hit the headlines earlier this month after former Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) president Jack Warner and ex-general secretary Chuck Blazer were slammed for allegedly enriching themselves at the expense of the organisation as the regional body’s Integrity Committee detailed the findings of an investigation into the conduct of its former leaders. Part of the investigation alleged that Warner obtained through fraud and then misappropriated US$462,200 provided to CONCACAF by Football Federation Australia (FFA) in 2010. The funds were designed to support an upgrade of the Marvin Lee Stadium at the COE and FFA representatives were led to believe that the COE was owned by CONCACAF. The FFA funding was part of its international development investments around its ultimately ill-fated bid for the 2018 World Cup.
UEFA’s bidding regulations for Euro 2020 state: “UEFA member associations are prohibited from offering, making or conferring any gift or benefit (whether direct or indirect) to or upon UEFA or any of its employees, representatives, contractors (including experts), agents or partners during or in connection with the bidding procedure.” The exception is “non-cash gifts having only a token value (not exceeding CHF 300) as a mark of respect and friendship”. The rules add: “Upon any request from UEFA, a UEFA member association must declare and substantiate the value of any gift made or offered during or in connection with the bidding procedure.”
UEFA’s ‘Euro for Europe’ vision foresees that matches will be split into 13 different packages, with 12 ordinary packages including three group matches and one knockout round (round of 16 or quarter-finals), and one package for the semi-finals and the final. Each national association will be allowed to present up to two bids, one for the ordinary package and one for the semi-finals/final, with a final decision over hosts expected in September 2014.