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Integrity: European code of conduct

The “Protect our Game!” code of conduct is signed by all four Presidents of UEFA, ECA, EPFL and FIFPro Division Europe

FIFPro, UEFA, ECA and EPFL have officially launched the joint Code of Conduct which sets out the guiding principles for all players, referees, clubs and other officials on issues surrounding the integrity of football.

It aims to promote the highest standards of conduct in the organisation, playing and officiating of the game.

Over the last two years the PFA, under FIFPro Division Europe has collaborated with eight other players’ unions, as well as UEFA and Birkbeck, University of London, to set down an important foundation in the fight against match-fixing.

All the aforementioned parties have worked together on the information and educational programme 'Don’t Fix It', the aim of which was to provide the players and all other parties involved in professional football with detailed, expert information concerning match-fixing and to warn of its dangers.

One of the results of this project was the drawing up of a joint Code of Conduct, which provides all players, referees, clubs and other officials with clear information about how to act in order to safeguard the integrity of professional football.

A working group was created which included FIFPro Division Europe, UEFA, ECA and EPFL.

One of the objectives of the action plan was to agree on a joint code of conduct for all participants in European football (e.g. players, referees, coaches, club representatives, administrators and competition organisers at European and domestic level) on integrity-related matters.

The Code of Conduct has now been adopted by all the important parties in European football, namely FIFPro Division Europe and the three stakeholders UEFA, EPFL and ECA who have come together to form a special Integrity Working Group 'Protect Our Game!'.

The 'Protect our Game!' code of conduct is the result of the discussions held within the working group, and it was signed by all four Presidents of UEFA, ECA, EPFL and FIFPro Division Europe at the last PFSC meeting on 9th September 2014.

The 'Protect Our Game!' code will also serve as a reference for code of conducts at national level, illustrating the positive result that strong cooperation between stakeholders can provide.

FIFPro Division Europe President and PFA Deputy Chief Executive Bobby Barnes explained: “The players have a key role to play in combating the manipulation of matches and we urge them to strictly adhere to the code of conduct. But we must not forget, that in many cases the players are the victims of these crimes and not the instigators".

UEFA President Michel Platini added: “We are pleased that a code of conduct on integrity matters could be adopted thanks to excellent cooperation with the key stakeholders of the football family - the ECA, EPFL and FIFPro.

“We are also satisfied that the signing of the convention on the manipulation of sports competitions has begun, and that the manipulation of matches will be recognised as a criminal offence.

ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated: “Together with the public authorities and the various components of the football family, we will eradicate this scourge from our game”. 

Speaking about the code of conduct EPFL Chairman Frédéric Thiriez concluded: “The European Leagues are fully committed to defend domestic competitions' integrity. The principles set out by this joint code of conduct will further help our leagues and clubs in increasing awareness at national level”.