UEFA is committed to guaranteeing the rights of individuals who lack the financial means to properly defend themselves in disciplinary proceedings.
For this reason, UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (Article 39) foresee the possibility of legal aid.
A key component of this legal aid is the provision of pro bono counsel to assist individuals in proceedings before the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body and the Appeals Body. For the avoidance of doubt, legal aid is not available to national associations, clubs or other entities which are not natural persons.
If the assistance of a pro bono counsel is requested and granted, the applicant may choose a counsel from the list drawn up by the UEFA administration.
Following a thorough selection process, the UEFA administration has a list of qualified lawyers who serve as pro bono counsel.
All of those lawyers are independent, have appropriate experience and expertise, as well as adequate availability, and are based in convenient locations. For the avoidance of doubt, UEFA is not responsible for the services and advice that pro bono counsel provide to their clients.
All pro bono counsel are required to act in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and honesty at all times in the performance of their duties. They must not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to third parties that could influence them in the performance of their duties, and they must declare any conflicts of interest before accepting an appointment.
In principle, pro bono counsel remain on UEFA’s list for four years. However, the UEFA administration may amend that list at any time at its own discretion (for example, where a pro bono counsel has been inactive or in order to ensure greater geographical coverage).
Depending on an applicant’s needs, legal aid may be provided as follows:
(i) The applicant may be released from having to pay the costs of proceedings.
(ii) The applicant may be allowed to select a pro bono counsel from the list established by the UEFA administration.
(iii) The applicant’s own reasonable travel and accommodation costs and those of witnesses and experts called to testify may be covered by UEFA (which will also cover the travel and accommodation costs of any pro bono counsel chosen from the list).
How to apply for legal aid and/or pro bono counsel?
Applicants for legal aid must email reasoned requests to UEFA’s disciplinary unit (email@example.com). Applicants must explain the need for their application and provide supporting documents to determine their financial situation.
Legal aid may be requested at any time during the proceedings.
The UEFA administration decides on requests for legal aid. Such decisions are final. Nevertheless, the applicants may request that their applications be reconsidered should their financial situation deteriorate considerably after their initial request.
If the request is accepted by the UEFA administration, applicants may directly contact a pro bono counsel from the list established by the UEFA administration.
A beneficiary of legal aid may terminate his/her legal relationship with a pro bono counsel at any time. If necessary, the beneficiary may request the assistance of a replacement pro bono counsel.
Further conditions and requirements associated with legal aid and pro bono counsel may be communicated by circular letter and/or made available on this webpage.