Supporters’ groups from the FSA’s Premier League Network met last night and were unanimous in their opposition to UEFA’s proposed Champions League changes that will entrench the richest clubs, damage the English football pyramid and rip off fans. The Football Supporters Association (FSA) supports their stance.
FSA Premier League Network statement:
Last year, it was our supporter groups that united to force the collapse of the European Super League. At the time, UEFA told us that fans were the heart of the game and promised fans’ views would be centre stage in deciding what came next.
So it is with great dismay that we now face the prospect of changes to the Champions League that will mean many more group games being played and entry for some clubs being based on a historical five-year ‘UEFA Club Co-efficient’.
These proposals will only widen the gap between rich clubs and the rest, at the same time wrecking domestic league calendars, with the expectation that fans sacrifice yet more time and money attending meaningless group games.
Fans do not want even more European games, especially drawn out group stages of ten games and an extra knockout round.
It is irresponsible and out of touch to even consider doubling the number of home games that fans will have to attend before the last 16 knock out round begins. This will be compounded by the cost of living crisis that is hitting Europe.
Furthermore, we do not see how increasing the requirement for teams and fans to fly around Europe is compatible with UEFA’s environmental commitments.
We also fear for the future of the FA Cup and League Cup – competitions that are vital financial redistributive mechanisms in our football pyramid.
We call on UEFA, and the members of its executive committee (EXCO), to specifically reject any plans that:
- Base qualification to the Champions League (or any other UEFA club competition) on anything but sporting merit performance in a relevant domestic league.
- Increase overall the number of games in the competition. To do so, will further increase financial pressure fans and damage the welfare of players who are being asked to play too much football.
Premier League fans do not want ten group games involving a small cartel of rich clubs further distorting competitive balance. We want strong, competitive domestic leagues, an equal opportunity for all to qualify for UEFA competitions based on sporting merit, along with a fairer distribution of the game’s wealth from the revenues those competitions earn.
Last year we engaged in constructive discussions with UEFA President Čeferin who made a commitment that fans would be listened to in this process. Our collective voice is unified and our position clear.
We call on UEFA to demonstrate that it acts in the interests of the wider football community and its supporters, not just the interests of the few rich investors and state-owned clubs that, less than a year ago, tried to destroy the European football family.
- Previous letter (April 2021) to the European Club Association from European supporter groups – here.
- The Future of European Competitions – Football Supporters Europe (policy paper). Most fans oppose UEFA’s plans to expand and restructure the Champions League from 2024-2025 onwards. In March 2021, FSE published a comprehensive policy paper explaining the reasons for this opposition and setting out an alternative vision for the future of European football.
- The FSA led the charge against the creation of a European Super League, working closely with our fellow fans across the continent via FSE, to whom the FSA is affiliated. FSE members commit to supporting six principles, against which we will measure any future reform proposals.