The idea of a European Super League has been around for a while, but has sent seismic shockwaves through the sport over the last 24 hours. With 12 clubs named already, a further 3 apparently to be announced shortly, and 5 more to be invited to breakaway, this proposal has sparked protest from every side – and from within the 12 club’s supporters, players and coaches.
We have made our opposition to this clear at every stage, and stand beside our continental partners at SD Europe and Football Supporters Europe, and our friends elsewhere in the UK at the Football Supporters Association. In February, we were signatories to Football Supporters Europe’s statement opposing this idea, along with supporters groups from clubs across the continent (including groups at many of the 12 breakaway clubs).
This statement called for the protection of sporting integrity in European competitions, the protection of domestic football, recognition of fan culture, fairer revenue distribution and sustainability, and dialogue with fans and other stakeholders. None of those concerns have been addressed in the two months since – the only conclusion we can reach is that the views of fans are being wilfully ignored.
Fans must be consulted and involved with decision-making processes at every level – internationally (through FIFA/UEFA with the European supporters organisations), nationally (through football associations and leagues, with national representative fans organisations), and locally at each and every club with their supporters groups.
The global pandemic should make us realise how important it is to work together; instead a small group of super-rich club owners are attempting to use it as an excuse to breakaway – creating closed shop that looks after their, and only their, interests. We can all benefit when we work together for a stronger future, and as fans we have the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder, united in opposition to their plans.
There is a better way. We have advocated for more openness, more collectivism, and more equal sharing of revenue, not less. We believe that a ‘virtuous cycle’ is possible in football – where more equity in financial distribution leads to greater competition between clubs, in turn creating a greater spectacle which attracts more supporters. Higher attendances would lead to greater ticket revenue, more interest from sponsors and the media, and would allow clubs to invest this increased revenue in player development. Better players leads to better football, higher attendances, increased revenue… the cycle goes on.
Yesterday’s announcements have grabbed everyone’s attention, united in opposition to a cynical, greedy and self-serving proposal. Let’s use this moment to hold their attention and turn it to a more positive alternative, and create a better future for European football.