BRUSSELS (AFP) - Uefa boss Michel Platini joined forces with the European Union on Tuesday, as they signed a three-year accord to fight racism, match-fixing and a host of other woes blighting football.
"By working together, we will make sure football can overcome the many challenges it faces," the former French international said, citing racial discrimination, match-fixing, third-party ownership of players and violence as key issues.
He said the pact signed with the European Commission will help promote grassroots football and support the introduction of the Financial Fair Play rules, meant to ensure that clubs live within their means and that the richest do not simply buy up all the best players.
The deal with the commission comes at a "crucial time for European football," he said.
For its part, the commission said both sides would work to tackle among other things corruption, match-fixing, human trafficking, doping, violence, racism and wider public security concerns affecting the sport.
The problems "all require a firm response", it said in a statement.
As football has grown into a global business worth billions, the temptation has grown to cut corners, with match-rigging and illegal sports betting posing serious problems to the integrity of the game.
There are regular reports of abuses and Singapore last year arrested a gang said to be planning to rig games at the Brazil World Cup backed by big investors in China.
Sports ministers from 15 European countries signed a treaty in Switzerland in September aimed at rooting out the "scourge" of match-fixing and illegal betting in sports.