European Commission vice-president says football should not be reserved for ‘the rich and the powerful’ | Inside UEFA



The European Commission’s (EC) vice-president Margaritis Schinas has reacted positively to Thursday’s joint statement by FIFA, UEFA and other continental football confederations which insisted football’s governing bodies would refuse to recognise the potential creation of a closed European ‘Super League’.

Quoted in a story published on the news site, Politico, Mr Schinas said: “There is no scope for the few to distort the universal and diverse nature of European football. The European way of life is not compatible with European football being reserved for the rich and the powerful.”

Politico is a news organisation reporting on global political and policy news.

Universal principles

In addition to refusing to recognise any kind of closed ‘Super League’, Thursday’s joint statement warned that that any club or player taking part could potentially risk not being permitted to participate in any official competition organised by football’s governing bodies.

“The universal principles of sporting merit, solidarity, promotion and relegation, and subsidiarity are the foundation of the football pyramid that ensures football’s global success and are, as such, enshrined in the FIFA and confederation statutes. Football has a long and successful history thanks to these principles,” the statement said. “Participation in global and continental competitions should always be won on the pitch.”

European sports model

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, who signed Thursday’s statement, met with EC President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President David Sassoli in separate online meetings last December to discuss several topics, including the need to safeguard the long-term future of the European sports model. This enables revenue from lucrative competitions to benefit the crucial wider development of the game, in particular at grassroots level.

“UEFA ensures that the commercial success of European football is redistributed and reinvested into the game and society,” Mr Čeferin told President Sassoli.

“From the strengthening of women’s football and the construction of pitches for local communities to ground-breaking social responsibility projects. We must not overlook what [the COVID] crisis has taught us about the importance of continuing to build a model of sports that promotes football for the enjoyment of all, rather than the profit of the few.”

Politico also cited, Tomasz Frankowski, co-chair of the European Parliament’s Sports Group and a former Polish international football player. “Sport is a right for everyone, not just an elite group. We must protect and promote the European sports model,” said Mr Frankowski, describing the potential creation of a closed European ‘Super League’ as “very alarming”.