In the past 24 hours, the world of European football has rightly condemned the reckless plans of a few wealthy clubs to create their own closed franchise league. Fans of these clubs are just as repelled as the rest of us, with many issuing strongly worded statements of opposition. Football Supporters Europe (FSE) stands in solidarity with them.
FSE believes that the relevant governing bodies must act swiftly to impose sanctions on the offending clubs at both the domestic and continental level. Whatever happens in the coming weeks and months, they should not be offered an easy route back to “normality.” After all, it is the status-quo which delivered the precarious situation in which we all find ourselves.
The cycle of endless concessions must stop here and now. It did not work. It does not work. It will never work.
To this end, FSE is also adamant that hastily drawn up proposals to change the UEFA Champions League should be abandoned. The addition of significantly more games was the idea of the breakaway clubs, anyway, while qualification based on historic performance is clearly an allowance for the same clubs, several of which know they cannot succeed based on sporting merit.
As FSE and others have consistently pointed out, such reforms will lead to even greater financial inequality between and within leagues, enhance the power of elite clubs, and ultimately, make for less entertaining football. This will be the case with or without a parallel super league.
We refuse to accept a compromise solution designed to accommodate absentee clubs simply because a worse one exists.
Reform is needed. The game does need to change. But it needs to be more equal, more competitive, and more diverse. Both the franchise league and an expanded UEFA Champions League will produce the opposite outcome.
FSE is therefore calling on UEFA and governing bodies to reset the whole reform process and establish a meaningful consultation mechanism that incorporates all stakeholders, including fans and their representatives. Moreover, revenue distribution should be a central subject of discussion, with a view to promoting a more equitable distribution of revenue between participating clubs and dramatically increasing solidarity payments to benefit non-participating clubs.
For a more comprehensive overview of FSE’s thinking on UEFA club competitions reform and the franchise league, read our position paper.