The European Leagues and the Fans’ Organisations (Football Supporters Europe & Supporter Direct Europe) agree on a set of principles for the protection and sustainable development of domestic and international club football.
Football Supporters Europe (FSE), SD Europe and European Leagues have reached an agreement to formalise the working relationship and future cooperation between the three organisations.
This agreement comes at a time when football’s challenges are clear for all to see. FSE, SD Europe and European Leagues agree that football needs reform, and to achieve it requires genuine cooperation.
The agreement is based on a set of principles that FSE, SD Europe and European Leagues are aligned on and which focus on the protection and sustainable development of domestic and international football.
The principles cover:
· Protection of the domestic football environment based on structural dialogue between leagues and fans
· Incluson and Diversity
· Governance of international football
· Protection of domestic football environment when engaging with UEFA and FIFA on the development of international football competitions and their main pillars (Format; Calendar; Access; Revenue Distribution)
SD Europe CEO Antonia Hagemann said “Fans and leagues share common principles and we now want to put them into action in specific projects and activities. We all want the game to be sustainable and competitive but also fair and collaborative. For SD Europe the formal relationship between fan organisations and leagues is crucial - on the national and European level. To save European football we all need to work together.”
FSE Executive Director Ronan Evain said: "Fans have distinct interests when it comes to the future of European football. But in many instances these interests align with other stakeholders—the protection of domestic competitions, greater equality within and between leagues, maintaining sporting merit, and so on. We are therefore pleased to have been able to reach an understanding with European Leagues and look forward to working together in the future."
European Leagues Managing Director Jacco Swart said: “Fans are a key stakeholder in football. Their passion and engagement towards their respective clubs and communities are a very important asset for our leagues. Fans cheer as much as we do for inclusive, financially sustainable, and well-balanced exciting domestic competitions where sporting merit and sporting ability are the sole deciding factor in winning or losing. It is a natural step to converge and work together to protect domestic football in the interest of all professional leagues and their clubs and fans across Europe.
SET OF PRINCIPLES
The parties acknowledge the importance of competitive domestic competitions in full capacity stadiums with home and away fans, with sporting merit as the primary driver for success. Domestic league football provides the foundations for every aspect of the game, from grassroots through to international tournaments.
The European Leagues and the Fans’ Organisations recognise that home and away fans have the right to enjoy football in a safe, secure, and welcoming environment and are committed to working together to develop and implement optimal hosting standards.
The Parties commit to work with their respective members towards structural dialogue between league competition organizers and fans organisations at domestic level.
Inclusion and Diversity
The European Leagues and the Fans´ Organisations commit to doing everything for European Football (domestically and internationally) and their internal structures to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their ethnic origin, ability, religion and belief, gender, sexual orientation, and age.
The Football Stakeholders share a joint responsibility for collective governance structures and thus should have appropriate involvement on matters of legitimate interests in the European football governance model.
Format of the Competitions
The leagues and fan organizers are open to Innovations in the format of International Club Competitions provided:
· they do not jeopardize domestic competitions and their Format, their Calendar, their Competitive Balance
· they don’t go against the general principle of access based on sporting merit.
Calendar of the Competitions
· Any change in the Calendar of international Club Competitions at European level and/or in the International Match Calendar (IMC) must not jeopardize the calendar of domestic league competitions.
· If global regulatory bodies allow International Club Competitions and National Team Competitions to grow too large it will distort the competitive balance of leagues and the health of domestic football.
Access to the Competitions
Qualification for International Club Competitions must be earned on the pitch:
· Access must always be based on the latest annual performance of clubs in their respective domestic top tier league or domestic cup competition.
· No to any qualification based on club coefficients or historical sporting merits.
· No to any promotion and relegation system between different international club competitions.
Revenue Distribution models
International Club Competitions generate their revenue from the value of clubs that has been created by domestic competitions. These competitions should therefore respect their positions in the ecosystem by:
· Compensating domestic competitions for providing them with exclusive periods by refraining from playing on International (club) dates.
· Developing a fair revenue distribution model between the various international club competitions (e.g.: in case of UCC, sincere higher investment in the two competitions below UCL by allocating a larger relative share of overall revenue from the UCC’s to these two competitions).
· Ensuring there is a fairly share of all revenue allocated to non-participating clubs.
· No historical results as criteria for revenue distribution (i.e.: the current club coefficient in UCC must be abolished).
The Parties commit to protect and improve the principles mentioned above via direct bilateral cooperation with the aim to develop – on a project basis - joint activities such as: advocacy/communications/awareness initiatives/structural dialogue/SLO implementation; in stadia initiatives; surveys and studies; webinars & events; EU related initiatives; etc.