The Football Supporters Europe (FSE) Board met with Uefa representatives in Nyon, Switzerland, on 20th April, a year on from the launch of the ill-fated super league.
After the meeting, Uefa announced its support for ‘Win It On the Pitch’—an FSE-led European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) that calls on the European Union (EU) to protect clubs, competitions, and communities, as well as the European model of sport on which they depend. An ECI offers people and groups the opportunity to shape EU policies by petitioning the European Commission to propose new laws. Once an initiative has reached a million signatures, the Commission decides on what action should be taken.
Commenting on Win It On The Pitch, Uefa General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis said:
“Football belongs to its fans, and they played a critical role in stopping last year’s shameless attempt by a few wealthy clubs to take it away. We applaud FSE for this European Citizens’ Initiative, which we fully encourage and support. The European sport model is based on popular principles such as sporting merit, promotion and relegation, and financial solidarity. Its principles must be protected at EU-level to ensure the sustainability of clubs, leagues, competitions, and communities.”
FSE Executive Director Ronan Evain thanked Uefa for their backing, adding:
“The super league plot may have failed, but the fight to secure the future of European football is far from over. It is more important than ever for all stakeholders to come together to protect clubs, competitions, and communities across the continent. ‘Win It On The Pitch’ is a simple way for ordinary citizens to demand that the EU takes action to do just that and every single signature will make a difference.”
The two organisations also exchanged views on other issues.
FSE restated its long-held position that the ban on standing in Uefa competitions is both unjustified and outdated. Uefa reported that it is currently conducting research into safe standing to inform its future policy, which was greeted positively by the FSE Board.
In addition, FSE and Uefa discussed poor hosting conditions, breaches of ticketing regulations, and indiscriminate disciplinary decisions that continue to impact fans weekly in Uefa club competitions. In view of this, both agreed to work together on improved reporting and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that all away sectors are as safe and enjoyable as possible.
Finally, FSE reiterated its concerns about the proposed reforms to Uefa club competitions, especially with regards to the potential increase in the number of games and the introduction of two qualification spots to the Champions League based on coefficient ranking.
Reflecting on two productive days in Nyon, FSE Board member Martha Gens said:
“We welcome Uefa’s ongoing engagement on subjects that matter to fans and their commitment to structured dialogue with fans’ organisations. We look forward to further cooperation in the future.”