A fans group has launched a campaign to block future Super League-style breakaways through a new European Union law.
The Super League, which was launched in the early part of last year before collapsing only a few days later, would have involved AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur.
It would have involved no qualification process for those sides, who would be permanent members of the mid-week competition.
While there would have been five further qualification slots, it would have represented something of a closed-shop tournament compared to the existing Champions League.
Despite the collapse of the competition, there are still concerns it could reemerge in another form, which has led to Football Supporters Europe, which is recognised by UEFA, launching a campaign to push for a new EU law – called ‘Win It On The Pitch’.
Using a tool called a European Citizens’ Initiative, which allows petitions to be directed to the European Commission, they have laid out a series of demands.
Their statement read: “The European model of sport is based on popular principles such as sporting merit, promotion and relegation, qualification to Europe via domestic success, and financial solidarity. This model and its principles must be protected at the EU-level to prevent any more super league style breakaway attempts.”
The European Commission released a statement, which read: “Today, the Commission decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Win It On The Pitch’.
“The organisers of the initiative call on the Commission to protect a European model of sport ‘based on values, solidarity, sustainability and open competition’. They ask the Commission to adopt a Recommendation that provides a framework and guidelines for action from Member States ‘to protect the model of football in Europe, to recognise the social value of sport in European society and the specific nature of sport in the EU competition rules and to strengthen the EU vision and long-term policy on the future and governance of European sport’.”
The FSE will now have to collect one million statements of support within one year from at least seven different member states of the EU for the European Commission to react to the campaign.
(Photo: CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
What else did FSE call for?
The statement continued: “Sport plays an important role in European society, encouraging grassroots participation and encompassing education, public health, and culture, as well as equality, diversity, and inclusion. For millions of Europeans, sport is their hobby, their passion, and their purpose. It is not just like any other business. This must be recognised in EU law, including competition rules.
“The pandemic has shown that fans are one of the most important stakeholders in European sport. This must be acknowledged, with fans involved in all discussions and decisions about its long-term future.”
Why is the Super League still a concern?
The Athletic’s Matt Slater took a look at the Super League situation and why it will always be of concern to those in the game.