The timely demise of the European Super League has been hailed by governing bodies, clubs and players alike as a victory for the fans. But let us be clear: there are no real winners here. The problems besetting the game – unequal financial distribution, lack of consultation with fans and players, inadequate governance, lack of solidarity – remain the same and they remain unresolved.
Many stakeholders have rushed to thank supporters for mobilising and speaking out at this time in defence of the guiding principles of football, arguing it has served as a powerful reminder that the game is, and always will be, for the fans. Yet all too often, the views of fans, along with those of players, go unheard. We are not at the table when decisions affecting the future of the game, such as the reform of the UEFA club competitions, are discussed and agreed.
Supporters everywhere are tired of hearing the phrases “football without fans is nothing” and “fans are not customers”. We need the football governing bodies to recognise that life has to be breathed into empty phrases like these, for example through:
- structured involvement of supporters in the governance of football clubs, national associations and leagues;
- realignment of the UCC reform in light of recent events and introduction of far-reaching measures to ensure financial and social solidarity through appropriate redistribution of revenue;
- revised licensing and FFP regulations to consolidate the above.
The involvement of fans in decision-making has been supported by a range of stakeholders in recent discussions with SD Europe, including UEFA, the European Leagues, FIFPro, club executives, fan representatives, MEPs and the European Commission.
Action has to be taken now to take the above into account and meet the challenges facing the game. We call upon the governing bodies and clubs to enter into a discussion with the national and local supporter organisations about how the views of the game’s most important stakeholders – the players and the fans – can flow into recommendations and ultimately policies designed to shape the future of football.