The European Leagues met for a two-days event in Milan on occasion of their General Assembly co-hosted by Lega Serie A. During the meeting the Leagues discussed and agreed on the following matters, among others:
International Match Calendar
The European Leagues unanimous strongly reject all the proposals of FIFA for changes in the IMC.
- The proposals for a biennial World Cup and consequently biennial continental tournaments like the UEFA Euro as well as both options for the international release windows and the way a mandatory rest period for players is presented are rejected.
- The FIFA proposals lead, amongst other things, to a calendar shift from club football to national team football and a severe shift in sporting and economic value from domestic to international competitions.
- The FIFA proposals are detrimental for the domestic competitions, the clubs, the players and the fans of football and cannot be accepted.
The European Leagues present the following position on the IMC to all members:
- No shift in calendar balance between domestic club competitions and international club and national teams’ competitions.
- World Cup and other continental tournaments to be played on currently scheduled frequency
- As limited changes as possible in the international release windows.
- If certain changes must happen, then always with a clear look at the interests of all different leagues (Summer and Winter).
- Rest periods for players to be arranged at domestic level.
Financial Fair Play
Following UEFA’s timeline to get the new FFP regulations approved by the by March 2022, the leagues reiterated their firm position on this matter:
- Support of strengthened Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulation on European level to increase the financial sustainability of clubs;
- Endorsement of existing FFP principles, including the limitation of (investor) contributions at current/reasonable limit. Liberalisation is seen to decrease financial sustainability, facilitate non-sustainable business models and lead to a further inflation of price levels;
- for the European football ecosystem to be sustainable in the short, medium, and long-term, the EL believes that clubs must operate within their own means (or, at maximum, with limited contributions at current or at least reasonable level).
- Support measures to strengthen CL/FFP implementation plus sanctioning mechanisms, so to further enhance discipline and rationality in club football finances.
- Safeguarding: Financial sustainability; 2. Competitive balance; 3. Diversity of clubs; 4. Club autonomy; 5. Fan interests
UEFA Convention on the Future of Professional Football
The Leagues approved their position towards the Convention on the following three matters:
Governance of European Football
- Stakeholders should be materially involved in the decision-making structure and process through establishing agreements on issues of common concern which impact professional football, its competitions and clubs across Europe.
- Agreements between UEFA and European Leagues must be reached on topics concerning leagues and clubs. Consultation only is not sufficient when decisions impact the values and assets of competitions and clubs across Europe, nor will it provide stable Governance.
Ensuring financial sustainability and responsibility within European football
The leagues reaffirmed their position on the evolution of the Financial Fair Play (see above).
The Leagues aim is to find agreement between UEFA and relevant stakeholders on these matters. That could also lead to fulfil the ambition of more and better harmonisation between domestic and international club licensing models and systems.
Strengthening competitiveness, solidarity distributions and player development
- To enhance and protect competitive balance within (domestic) football competitions is one of the core objectives of the European Leagues.
- The more unpredictable individual matches and competitions are, the more attractive it is for all audiences and the better it is for the model as a whole.
- Sporting merits (from the latest season) are the deciding factor in winning or losing matches and competitions, and thus in participating (or not) in domestic and international competitions. Earn it on the pitch!
- The coefficient as tool for qualification or distribution for a future UCC must be completely dismissed.
- Domestic competitions (leagues and cups) and the domestic calendars ought, need and deserve to be protected. They are the motor of the whole football industry and not solely of our own leagues.
- By protecting domestic league football, we do protect our sport.
- We have a joint responsibility to protect and enhance domestic competitions and their competitive balance. For this, UEFA, National Associations, Leagues, Clubs and individuals must also be able to see past their own interests.
- More solidarity is needed. Solidarity distributions when it comes to the redistribution of revenues, the development and transfers of players and cost control mechanisms must be strengthened and increased.
The European Leagues are ready to work together with UEFA and other stakeholders to find agreements on these important topics which could significantly contribute to restoring competitiveness in the interest of all.
Cooperation with FIFPRO
During the meeting, the European Leagues endorsed a set of principles for the future governance of European football in cooperation with the players’ union. The Joint EL/FIFPRO Manifesto on Governance will be presented publicly on next Tuesday 26 October in Brussels on occasion of FIFPRO Policy Forum. The Leagues also discussed the new approach towards the European Social Dialogue agreed among the stakeholders whereby tailor-made assistance is delivered at national level to ensure sustainable progress and change towards better conditions and contractual relations between employers (leagues and clubs) and employees (players) at domestic level.
Coopearation with Fans Organisations
The European Leagues and the Fans Organisations Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and Supporters Direct Europe reached a landmark agreement by jointly endorsing a set of principles for the protection and sustainable development of domestic and international club football. The set of principles covers the following areas:
- Protection of domestic football environment based on Structural Dialogue between leagues and fans
- Inclusion & Diversity
- Governance for International football
- Protection of domestic football environment when engaging with UEFA and FIFA on the development of International Football Competitions and main pillars (Format; Calendar; Access; Revenue Distribution)
On occasion of today’s General Assembly, the European Leagues welcomed three new Development Member Leagues:
- Icelandic Top-football League
- Dutch Coöperatie Eerste Divisie
- German DFB 3.Liga
The European Leagues Association includes now 38 Members from 31 countries.
Next General Assembly
The next European Leagues General Assembly shall take in Istanbul, Turkey, on 28/29 April 2022, co-hosted by the Turkish Union of Club.