We agree that the European model of sport—which is based on sporting merit, promotion and relegation, qualification for UEFA competitions through domestic success, and fair revenue distribution—must be protected and strengthened. Such a process should begin and end with consultation and cooperation between all stakeholders, including supporters, at both European and national levels.
At the same time, the system as we know it is dysfunctional. It does not work any more. The gap between the big and small clubs and leagues is already too big and solidarity measures not enough.
The current controversy distracts from the core problems the football pyramid is faced with and the need for more solidarity to maintain a fair competition. The Champions League has issues that need addressing, but the focus must also be on the national level, where the gap is fast becoming a chasm between the ‘Big 5’ leagues and the rest, and the big and small clubs. The key is addressing this imbalance in the European football system, re-calibrating it to one which serves the interest of all clubs, not a few, and preparing it for challenges in the future.
The question we should ask and answer is: How can we improve the fairness of the competition by increasing the revenue of clubs that don’t play European competitions but are part of the football pyramid, improve the social structure of the sport, and develop the young talent of the future?
These concerns are voiced following numerous consultations and discussions over the last 5 years with the members of FSE and SD Europe.
As ever, both FSE and SD Europe are willing and prepared to engage with football’s authorities on the question of the future of European football.