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World Association takes shape

Five major Leagues from around the world united in Manchester this week for "a historic day" to forge a professional World League Association, ESPNsoccernet can reveal.

The five founding members are: the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), the South African Premier Soccer League, Major League Soccer, the Thai Professional League and the United Arab Emirates League.

The Board of Directors of the new World League Association consists of 11 members, six from the EPFL and the remaining five from the other founding members.

They will be Dave Richards (chairman of the Premier League), Frederic Thiriez (president of the French league), Sergey Pryadkin (president of the Russian league), Jose Luis Astiazaran (president of the Spanish league), Frank Rutten (CEO of the Dutch league), Claus Thomsen (CEO of the Danish league), Dr Irvin Khoza (chairman of South Africa's Premier Soccer League), Don Garber (commissioner of MLS), Worawi Makudi (president of the Thai professional league), Yousef Yaqoob Al Serkal (chairman of the United Arab Emirates league) plus another member to be elected by non-European Leagues.

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of the EPFL, has been elected chief executive officer of the new organisation.

A statement read: "The new World Association is aimed to be the leading voice of the leagues at world level by protecting the game's positive values, enhancing football's standards and promoting the further development of Professional Football around the world in cooperation with FIFA and other relevant stakeholders in the football family."

The World League Association's main purposes are:

• To promote and develop Professional Football in all its dimensions on and off the pitch;
• To foster cooperation and unity among the leagues, while promoting and safeguarding their common interests and aspirations;
• To be the voice of the leagues in the world on all matters of common interest;
• To foster dialogue, cooperation, friendly relations and unity between the leagues;
• To promote professional football and safeguard the overall interests of the leagues;
• To facilitate the collection and exchange information and best practices between the leagues;
• To foster friendly relations and cooperation between the Association and other sports bodies (FIFA, IOC, Confederations, FIFPro, etc.) and relevant sport-related political institutions;
• To preserve the principles and positive values of football and to protect the integrity of the game at all times
• To organise exhibitions, conferences, training courses and other collective events relating to the promotion of professional football and the commercial development of the Leagues

The inaugural congress of the World League Association will be hosted by the Thai Premier League chaired by Mr Worawi Makudi, in Bangkok, on September 2012, when the Association's constitution and the newly appointed board of directors and CEO is ratified.

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