SD Europe welcomes the overwhelming support by MEPs for the EU Sports Policy Report. At noon today the European Parliament voted by majority in favour of the report prepared by Tomasz Frankowski MEP which acknowledges the special status of fans, backing supporter involvement in decision making in football and recognising them as stakeholders.
The vote shows that the European Parliament fully supports the embodiment of European values in sports: meritocracy, openness, competitiveness. It supports the need for reforms and it supports the need to involve fans in decision-making – which strengthens and solidifies the urgency of the position of SD Europe and its members across Europe for supporter involvement in governance structures.
The report “calls on the Member States, sports governing bodies and clubs to acknowledge the status of fans in sport by involving them in governance and decision-making bodies;
The recent crisis has shown that even though sport events can run without spectators, fan culture is an indispensable part of the sport experience. In this regard, it is important to acknowledge the status of fan organisations in sport by involving them in governance.”
The report also shares synergies with most of SD Europe’s positions which were shared with UEFA as part of the UEFA Convention in July 2021.
SD Europe wholeheartedly agrees with Mr Frankowski when he requests increased cooperation between institutions and stakeholders and a regular and formal high-level cooperation led by the European Commission. We also believe that an EU sports coordinator, which is a recommendation of the report, would have a positive effect in this regard.
Commenting on the vote, SD Europe CEO Antonia Hagemann said “Mr Frankowski, his team and now the majority in the European Parliament are promoting a model of sport (including football) which we fully support. We want football to be inclusive, fair, sustainable and we need its governance to be more collaborative. We all seem to want one European football. We need to truly collaborate to save it and this report highlights the need for policy makers to be involved in this process!”.
SD Europe would like to thank its members who contacted their MEPs in support of the report and its recommendations.
The report comes at just the right time, following the unachieved creation of a closed European Super League and at a time when the UEFA Convention is discussing how football can improve to highlight this. Football needs to be accessible and inclusive, it needs financial redistribution between the professional and grassroots levels of the game and it needs to seriously improve cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders – including the EU policy makers!
Sport, and in our case football, needs to balance commercial interests and protect its social and societal role. We have heard all stakeholders continuously recite the trope that “football without fans is nothing”. If this is the genuine position held, the report’s proposals should be put into action to make this a commitment to the game, rather than simply a PR phrase.