The controversial football super league seems to have convinced the EU that it is time to get serious about the sport.
In Strasbourg on Tuesday, European legislators overwhelmingly backed a report on EU sport policy calling for a European sport model based on “solidarity, inclusiveness, open competition and fairness”. The report firmly rejects breakaway leagues, a shot at the Rebel Superleague, which started in April and quickly collapsed.
And the political will to armor the European sports model is not limited to the European Parliament. According to a draft of the EU resolution viewed by POLITICO, the EU ministers will emphasize the “consequences that closed sports competitions could have on organized sport in Europe”.
The resolution was approved by the EU’s Deputy Ambassadors last week and is due for final adoption on November 30th.
Although the Council resolution and Parliament’s report are not legally binding, they are part of a clear direction in which EU policy is emerging against the Super League, whose supporters are not giving up, and before the European Football Court against the European football association UEFA fight EU justice in a case that will shape football governance in Europe for decades to come.
Tomasz Frankowski, a center-right Polish MP and former professional footballer who led work on Parliament’s report, said its adoption was a key moment for the future of sport in Europe.
“Cooperation at all levels is essential to improve and promote a model of sport in Europe that is open to all and based on values, solidarity, fairness and open competition,” he said. “We have to protect it from closed competitions by elite clubs.”
In the plenary debate in Strasbourg on Monday evening, Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas called for “a model that is open, that rewards sporting merits, that puts solidarity and sustainability in the foreground – not profit and power”.
UEFA, the European leagues and football fan groups all welcomed Parliament’s vote on Tuesday afternoon, which was passed by 597 votes in favor and 36 against.
In a letter to MPs before the vote, the Football Supporters Europe fan organization informed lawmakers that “this crisis requires a political response. Our clubs, our communities and the entire socio-cultural ecosystem that makes European football so unique are all too often threatened by gross economic interests. You need protection. “
For their part, the Super League officials insist that the proposed competition is not a breakaway or closed league – and after the vote they again accused Switzerland-based UEFA of being a “monopoly private regulatory authority” and “the only dominant operator” and gatekeeper “acts.”
The Council resolution will be of benefit to the Slovenian Presidency as it is the first EU-level resolution on the European model of sport in more than two decades.
In the resolution, the ministers also want to “promote values in sport and in sports organizations … those in accordance with the principles of democracy, transparency, integrity, solidarity, gender equality, openness, accountability, accessibility, social responsibility and respect for fundamental and human rights be guided “. . “
He also called for sports issues to be included in the debates at the conference on the future of Europe.
A spokesman for the Slovenian Presidency said that sport-political cooperation with the upcoming French Presidency was “very good”.
This is just the beginning for the EU, added Frankowski. “It is important to continue this debate on the future of sport in Europe, in which all actors in sport are involved and in which the EU institutions play a role.”