Michele Uva, Director General of the Italian Football Federation and member of the UEFA Executive Committee was invited to attend the meeting of the General Assembly of the Romanian Football Federation of 27 May 2017. In his address, he conveyed a message from UEFA to the affiliated members of the Romanian Football Federation present at the meeting. We reproduce below the speech of Michele Uva delivered at the House of Football.
"Dear Mister President, dear Mister Secretary General, dear friends from the Romanian Federation, it is a pleasure to be here today.
I am here today not only in the name of UEFA, but also in the name of the long friendship between the Italian and the Romanian Federations and I wish to share some thoughts with you.
I am very impressed with the advances announced by the Romanian Federation and by President Burleanu as well as with your development plan and the international credibility gained by your Federation over the last years.
In the same line, I wish to point out some issues of particular relevance.
Football is a beautiful sport which can be defined by the very two words that you wrote right here behind me: passion and responsibility. Why?
Passion because there is nothing more beautiful than putting passion in everything you do, in your hobby, in football. Football would not have existed without passion.
Yet, it is also true that our role, the role of all of us present here today, is a responsibility role. We are responsible to millions of people, millions of fans, millions of subscribers, millions of people around the world who watch the matches of your national team and millions of Romanians who live happily and with whom we live side by side in Italy. So, this is a two-fold issue.
Football is no longer just a game or just a 90 minutes’ match. Football is something else. We are aware that a lot has changed in the past 20 years. Civil society has changed, the game has changed, the model has changed, football as a product has changed, the universe of football has changed.
All eyes were turned, especially in Italy, to Italy vs Germany, which ended in 4-3. Past wins of Italy make us proud but they do not prevent us from preparing for the future.
We are aware that everything we are doing today will impact on our future. Future should not be limited to those having a football background, it should also include those who can create bridges with professionals from other domains than football that may generate added value for our purpose.
I had a sporting career, not only in football, but also in volleyball and basketball. However, I am open to and welcome outsiders that understand the system and bring added value to it.
Education is at the core of this process. To be a coach or a football manager is not an amateur job. This does not mean that a great player cannot be a great coach, too. One of the greatest Italian and international coaches, Arrigo Sacchi, has never played football. Yet, he has innovated world football in terms of mindsets and approaches and maybe also in terms of playing. There is no room for improvisation. It is time for change.
What we have done so far is probably not enough to build our future. You have taken to a great and beautiful road, an important road, along which the Italian and the Romanian Federations share important ideas and strategies. We have turned to each other for knowledge as the Italian Federation is eager to share with others but also to learn from them.
People are crucial to this purpose. Strength and determination are of the essence for any project. Your President has a great desire for innovation doubled by a broad perspective on the future. We are aware of this at UEFA, and your project concerning coaches, a project for the future whose power we could all feel at the end of your President’s speech is an interesting and important one. UEFA granted the Romanian Football Federation the HatTrick award for women’s football. You managed to devise a wonderful project which is a true international landmark and we are very happy with this.
In conclusion, we always have to find the power to learn new things. The Italian Federation in cooperation with the German Federation have put in place maybe the most comprehensive project for the future which goes down to the federal and territorial football centers and football academies. We shared information, we talked and decided to bring a German project to Italy. In its turn, the German Federation is studying the organization of the Italian Federation with a view to restructure its organizational model. Football Federations do not compete beyond the 90 minutes on the field of play and the overwhelming emotion in the stadium.
I wish to emphasize that you have very modern ideas and strategies and this has earned you great acclaim. There is no future for football or the society without investment. There is no growth and development without investment. Investment is not a purely financial concept, it is not restricted to money. Ideas, people, strategy and knowledge are equally worthy to invest in. Important investments in football are long-term investments and I could read this also in your plan. All the actions contemplated there will have a long-term impact. Do not be afraid to make long-term investments! As I have already said, everything will impact on the future. Here are my thoughts for you which I shared with Răzvan at the election of the new
President of UEFA who has the same vision: Look into the future, turn your eyes to the future! Look beyond today! To look into the future is to build together the future of the Romanian football, the future of the European football, to share experience. Discuss your experiences in places like this one. But leave such meeting places united as football is, as Răzvan said, the greatest social aggregator in Europe and perhaps worldwide.
Be united! Be united when talking! When talks are over, try to act like a real team comprising each and all of you.
Look into the future, look always TOGETHER into the future, together with each other, with other Federations and with UEFA.
Thank you for inviting me here!"