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European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson © European Leagues

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HeIn many countries across Europe, there is a professional league organisation, recognised by the relevant national association, which manages certain aspects of professional football, normally the running of the national championship.

On an institutional level, UEFA and the leagues interact via the leagues' representative body, the European Leagues. The European Leagues is an association governed by Swiss law, founded in 2005 and based in Nyon, Switzerland. It traces its origins back to the 1997 founding of the EUPPFL (Association of European Union Premier Professional Football Leagues).

Originally composed of 14 members, it now comprises 32 member leagues and associations of clubs from 25 UEFA national associations. Together they form a general assembly which elects a board of directors which, in turn, elects its President. The current European Leagues president is Lars-Christer Olsson.

The European Leagues (then the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL)) and UEFA originally signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2009, under which the EPFL recognised UEFA as the governing body of football at European level, and UEFA recognised the EPFL as the association representing the interests of the European professional national football leagues. Further Memorandums of Understandung were signed by UEFA and the EPFL in 2012 and 2015.

The European Leagues directly elects the four members representing European professional football leagues on the 16-member Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC). The PFSC brings together the main stakeholders in European football, i.e. UEFA, clubs, professional leagues and players, to work together to find common solutions on major topical issues affecting the game. It reports directly to the UEFA Executive Committee and exercises a major influence on its decision-making.

Proposed amendments to the UEFA Statutes were approved at the Extraordinary UEFA Congress in September 2017, hence giving effect to a new Memorandum of Understanding between UEFA and the European Leagues, signed in December 2017, which grants the European Leagues one seat on the UEFA Executive Committee in the future. In addition to this, the European Leagues are now represented in a number of UEFA committees.

Under the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding, UEFA and the European Leagues are committed to:

(a) Promoting and reinforcing their cooperation with particular regard to the sustainable development of professional football in Europe.

(b) Discussing and cooperating with a view to protecting and enhancing competitive balance, both in domestic and UEFA club competitions, in accordance with the principle of solidarity in order to guarantee a sustainable and fair redistribution system in the overall interest of European football.

(c) Ensuring the implementation of good-governance principles so that the views of the EPFL Member Leagues are properly represented in the decision-making process of UEFA and that those of UEFA are taken into account in the decision-making process of the EPFL and the EPFL Member Leagues.

(d) Cooperating and negotiating on topics of common interest, including the coordination of fixture lists and the interaction between domestic and UEFA club competitions.

The European Leagues body is also a social partner in the EU’s Social Dialogue activities, set up under the EU Social Dialogue platform offered by the European Commission for representatives from both employees and employers of a specific industry to discuss and agree on social and labour conditions on a European Union level. The EU Social Dialogue in professional football was created in 2008, and the European Leagues represent the employers along with the European Club Association (ECA).

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