Supporters and Premier League unite in opposition to UEFA reforms

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UEFA’s attempts to restructure European club football look destined to fail after the Premier League said its clubs, along with several sides in Spain, oppose the plans.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, chairman of the European Club Association, had been leading a push to revise UEFA’s current club competitions – two exist at the moment with a third set for introduction in 2021 – with a new three-tier structure from 2024 that would throttle the involvement of new clubs by incorporating promotion and relegation.

In simple terms, Agnelli has been plotting to entrench the dominance of the continent’s richest clubs while simultaneously weakening the importance of domestic football.

While that may well have looked attractive to certain Premier League clubs in isolation, the financial muscle of the league has been driven by the collective since it was formed in the early 90s. Thankfully, a sense of solidarity resides.

In a statement released this morning, they wrote: “The Premier League and our clubs today unanimously reaffirmed our strong opposition to the proposed reform of UEFA club competitions from 2024, which would alter the structure, calendar and competitiveness of league football.

“We believe the proposals – particularly the suggested format and qualification criteria – would be detrimental to domestic leagues across the continent.

“There was unanimous agreement that the domestic game should continue to be the priority for professional clubs, and any changes to the football calendar must respect the requirements of domestic competitions.

“Critically, qualification for the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League must continue to depend on current domestic performance.

“The clubs have asked the Premier League to now work with UEFA, fans and other stakeholders across Europe to identify constructive proposals which improve European club competitions without harming domestic football.”

It’s not just the clubs who are against the ECA and UEFA’s plans. The Football Supporters’ Federation has joined forces with other fan-led groups from across Europe to also express their concerns about how domestic lower leagues and cup competitions could take a big hit.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSF, said: “These proposals are totally counter to the principles of sporting achievement, and the knock-on effects would be disastrous throughout the game.

“The plans could force lower league clubs to the edge of the abyss, destroy domestic cup competitions, and pull up the drawbridge on teams with no European pedigree.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small your club is – these proposals would be massively damaging throughout the football pyramid. We’ll do everything in our powers to oppose them.”

The FSF has the full back of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust who have written to Gunners managing director Vinai Venkatesham asking for him to back six key principles.

Promotion and relegation based on sporting performance – from the bottom of the pyramid to qualification for Europe

No to closed leagues or franchise football – qualify on results, not through history or heritage

Weekends are for domestic leagues – protect fan culture, home and away. No live broadcasts on Saturdays at 3:00pm

We want competitive leagues – no to even more concentration of wealth and on-going domination by a fixed few top clubs

Domestic football comes first – protect the pyramid and cup competitions

Share the wealth – money from elite football should be shared across the whole game

A meeting of supporters ‘Fans Europe’ is taking place early next month, by which point we hope Agnelli’s plans – due to be discussed at a meeting of the ECA this week – are as dead as Julius Caesar at the Theatre of Pompey.

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GYWE
GYWE

Something supporters and the Premier League do agree on because if it went ahead the Premier League would take a hit to the finances, presumably.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Good stand from the PL. It‘s a shame Arsenal was one of the clubs that were heavily involved in all the super league plans. Really think a lot of our „values“ have gone with Arsene.

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

Our values were Arsene.

Post January Blip
Post January Blip

Let’s not forget that Arsenal was a major player in the formation of the Premier League back in 1992 (before Arsene). This isn’t a new scenario in terms of what the ‘elite’ clubs are ambling for, but I do agree that this latest proposal is going s bit too far.

IamaGoober

Yeah it was David Dein, and other key representatives from United, Chelsea and Alan Sugar from Spurs.

The only reason Sky are so heavily entrenched in modern football now is solely down to Alan Sugar.

One of the companies he owned were (I think) selling the actual satellite dishes that consumers needed for Sky TV.

So he did his old pal Murdoch a solid and went with Sky over, I think it was like Channel 4 or something..?

IamaGoober

Our involvement with the planning of a European Super League was just an insurance policy and a bargaining chip.

All of the top clubs in the UK and Europe have contingency agreements in place with each other already, if for some reason other clubs around Europe were to pull away from UEFA.

This means UEFA need to be extremely careful here. Because these super clubs are so powerful now, they don’t actually need UEFA or FIFA.

Whats stopping them from breaking away and making their own Super League completely casting aside both of those prehistoric organisations.

Its all very political because lets not forget, we are talking about nearly a trillion pound industry here.

This is why Man City have their noses so bent out joint regarding this idea they are going to kick f*cked out The Champions League for allegedly breaching UEFA financial regulations.

They could very easily turn around and say we are boycotting the Champions League and UEFA. And we can and want to finance a new European Competition/League away from UEFA. They have the capital to do that. City know that, hence they are more than willing to just continue to breach any regulations they want.

So old Aleksander Čeferin needs to tread carefully.

The Wenger Zip
The Wenger Zip

Considering it’s the other clubs, such as Real, pushing most heavily for City to face tough sanctions I doubt City would find it easy setting up their own league due to FFP. A policy most top clubs are compliant of.

IamaGoober

@The Wenger Zip

You’re completely missing the point.

FFP would have no bearing at all. They’re made up UEFA regulations. Clubs aren’t accountable for any of those regulations outside of UEFA. They wouldn’t have to answer to anyone. Its not like UEFA are accountable to something like the FCA or PRA. Hence they’re able to blatantly take back hander’s all over the shop whilst booking European Cup finals in Azerbaijan.

All the clubs would have to do is adhere to Government legislation of the countries with which they reside in.

If all of a sudden City get every Chief Execs together from each club in Europe and say ‘Here lads — lets all jog this UEFA lot on they’re all corrupt and huge pain in the ass. We will start our own European Super League which we all govern ourselves and we will pay you all X amount of money up front for the pleasure.’

All it would need is Barcelona, City, Madrid, and maybe United or Us to be like — ‘Yeah, you’re done.’

Then UEFA would cease to exist. No more UEFA problems.

And something like that happening isn’t that far out of the realms of possibility. For example — that’s exactly how the Premier League was formed out of the Football League.

The European Super clubs do not need UEFA anymore.

PeteyB
PeteyB

Honestly it seems to me that its only a matter of time before this happens. Global fan bases who don’t travel to games much are more valuable than the traditional local fan bases. And I’d imagine that those considering would be quite confident that if the best players come they could attract enough match day fans to create atmosphere.
I suppose the small power that may remain with FIFA / UEFA would be in international competition. Introduction of a rule that only players competing in FIFA affiliated leagues can compete in international competition. World cup etc still means a fair amount to a good number of players… but who knows money, coupled with the fact that only a handful of nations can actually realistically win international competition, could sway even the most patriotic of minds.

Papa Large, big shot in North London
Papa Large, big shot in North London

Fifa, allegedly, are keen to allow PSG and Shitty to, allegedly, flout the FFP regulations. The sad part is there are more than enough TV viewers to keep clubs with or without a profit motive well fed with a soulless super league.

I’m going to wash myself thoroughly after saying this but part of the beauty of football are ugly days against Stoke. That’s not to mention derby days, getting excited because your second team in the Croatian league gets a competitive run out against Arsenal, or even Leicester fucking us in the league.

UEFA should be looking at levelling the domestic competitions before this nonsense goes further. I get why Arsenal wanted a seat at the table but we shouldn’t have anything to do with this. If we can’t get in the Champions League in our own right, we don’t deserve to be there. If we get relegated, another team deserves our spot in the league. That’s football.

IamaGoober

@Papa Large, big shot in North London

Of course they because FIFA, ‘the international governing body for Football’ are terrified that one day, all of these super clubs that are so powerful, just decide to boycott their organisations.

So naturally they want to keep all parties happy. Because without them, they don’t have a business…

City and PSG know that, so they’re basically being like ‘we don’t care about your financial regulations.’

The only reason people like Madrid are complaining (and rightly so) is because they don’t have the same amount of capital to absorb the financial repercussions of not adhering to those meaningless UEFA regulations like both of those clubs can since they’re state funded.

Andy Mack
Andy Mack

Although that would be a possibility, with Uefa and Fifa being joined and running both the European Nations competition and the World Cup, dropping Uefa would cause massive headaches.
Suddenly there’s a different league and in response Uefa say no player at a breakaway team can play in their tournament, followed by Fifa saying the same about their WC tournament.
So do the new Messi/Ronaldos decide to stay for the money or move to a league where they can play for their country. Maybe a great influx of top players into the China League (so they can play at the WC) is what they need to change the image of their league into something good?
So the new breakaway league/s decide they need their own European nations/ World nations competitions but the only people with the money to set that up are Middle eastern oil money (as every nation would need to set up a non-UEFA/FIFA aligned organisation in their own country) and they want them all in their back yard not just occasionally in Qatar…
It may be a great fall-back position, but IMO it’s a ‘World falling apart – emergency only’ fall back.

Marc
Marc

A rare case of power doing what’s right not what’s most profitable? And talking of what’s right, I notice that Blogs always gives credit I just wanted to say publically well done for doing so.

Flash
Flash

Well said!

PeteyB
PeteyB

In this case I think what is right may also be seen as most profitable given the global popularity of the EPL.

Jomki

I agree with you totally.

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

I just don’t get why would it be more profitable. Sooner or later people would get fed up with derbies playing every week, wouldn’t they? I believe it would be only a short term gain. Maybe that is the plan?

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

In the long run a European Super-league WILL happen. Professional football is driven by money and not sporting principles. With the exception of England most European leagues are dominated by just one or two sides. A very competitive and glamorous European league which guarantees the likes of Man United, PSG and Juve will make a fortune. Yes, it will hurt the domestic leagues but that’s exactly what the Premier League did.

Pooner
Pooner

This is probably true, but I can’t help but think it would be the most tedious, soulless league ever.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

The money people are only interested in viewing figures. No man united in the CL next season will hurt the numbers, even though they don’t deserve to be there. This is the same reason why we’re going to have a 48 team World Cup in the future: so that more people will be watching.

It stinks but that’s the way things are going.

GateCrasher
GateCrasher

What are the arguments for maintaining a UK broadcast ban for 3pm Saturday kick-offs? Are Sunday attendances worse?

A Different George
A Different George

I think the argument for the ban in this context–UEFA’s proposed competition– is pretty strong. The expanded Champions League would require so many matches among the elite clubs that some–soon, many–would have to occur on weekends. So, a first division league match in a given country would compete for viewers with Bayern v Juve or Barca v Man City.

Bacary Lasagna
Bacary Lasagna

I’m glad that this shows that at least some people in football are still capable of being sensible. Also encouraging that there are those that want to protect/develop the domestic leagues.

Goonerrific
Goonerrific

“Other stakeholders” = corporate sponsors

StJimmy
StJimmy

Saturday 3pm prohibition is archaic, fans are dispersed across the country and it is difficult to justify tickets if you earn anywhere near a median salary.

If its just about attendence then they should prohibit televising Europa league group stage bullshit not saturday league games.

Laca-Sead
Laca-Sead

I personally like the idea. Of course the FA doesn’t like it as they’ll lose their cash cow which will become UEFA’s. The domestic cups will lose value but that is part of a global integrated world ( Brexit syndrome). There will still be plenty of money around for lower clubs and a rethink will be needed. Let’s not be afraid to move forward with the world (ah too late). it will still be based on competitiveness as there will be a system of relegation and promotion.

Pooner
Pooner

Quite depressing that those in charge of world football seem hellbent on destroying the heart and soul of the game.

Papa Large, big shot in North London
Papa Large, big shot in North London

Am I misunderstanding, the Europa competition is a massive burden on clubs compared with the rewards and there is talk of a 3rd competition? Or is the talk of a 3 tier Champions League (1, 2, 3 div)? Either way, awful idea. Fuck UEFA.

Leon
Leon

If its based on sporting performance no wonder Arsenal oppose it..

Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

What’s that about Saturdays at 3pm?

C-J
C-J

While a new and shiny European “super league” would probably be interesting for most viewers and fans to watch, wouldn’t it eventually just settle down into what would be, essentially, a normal league? With the same teams dominating year after year, some becoming the sort of mid-table clubs, with the rest of the bottom. At that point, what is the point for those clubs who used to be big in their old leagues but now find themselves in the mid- to bottom tier in the new league? Yeah, the money from TV deals etc would probably be great and all, but what about competing for the trophy? Will that then be the ONLY trophy available, rather than the 4 a club like Arsenal could currently fight for (counting EL or CL).

I personally am not a fan of this idea. Would much rather stay with the individual leagues and league systems. But that’s just my view.

Santori
Santori

Hear hear.

UEFA need to sort themselves out.

Plenty of rubbish from them in recent years.

Özil Gummidge
Özil Gummidge

“We want competitive leagues – no to even more concentration of wealth and on-going domination by a fixed few top clubs.”

Two alternatives I can see. An NFL-style recruitment and transfer system. Or remodel ownership and regulate the businesses much more through the state.

The added benefit of the latter is it can be part of helping stop Florida and a few island nations sliding into the sea.

Can even do both.