KEEP THE 51% RULE

Following on from the events of last week, the SFSU (Swedish Football Supporters Union) has released a statement reiterating why the 50+1 rule and democracy is so important to Swedish football.

On the release of the statement, SFSU Chair and SD Europe Board Member Sofia Bohlin said “The led balloon that was the ‘European Super League’ in recent weeks has reiterated why our 50+1 rule and democracy in our football clubs is vital. Swedish domestic football is strong and has a vibrant culture because the supporters know without doubt that it’s their game; we own our clubs and we have the final say. We must be proud of this and continue to advocate for it to protect football as we know and love it today.”

SFSU Statement: KEEP THE RULE

On April 18, 2021, a group of old men decided that “their” clubs would break away and start their own league, the European Super League. A league with top clubs from Spain, Italy and England. A league with inspiration from the American sports where the league is closed and based on purchased places instead of sporting merits.

On April 18, 2021, a group of old men decided that “their” clubs would break away and start their own league, the European Super League. A league with top clubs from Spain, Italy and England. A league with inspiration from the American sports where the league is closed and based on purchased places instead of sporting merits.

A couple of days later, all English clubs have withdrawn and more clubs have followed suit. This after large protests from supporters, UEFA and their own players and coaches. It turned out that the clubs did not belong to the old men at all, but that they were still the supporters’ clubs. Only days later, however, there is talk of major changes in the Premier League. Football lives with a constant threat from commercial interests, even here in Sweden. That is why it is extremely important that we never take the 51% rule for granted. We must be on our guard in order to be able to stop attacks on our union democracy at an early stage.

We see how supporters in countries that lack association democracy and the 51% rule in recent decades are increasingly regarded as exchangeable customers by the football clubs they love. How the supporters have nothing to say in the decisions made by the club owners. How easy it is for a club to become a commercial company that chases profits instead of being an important part of its local community when the supporters can have their say.

Previously, we have seen how votes were raised for the abolition of the 51% rule with arguments that it would strengthen the Swedish laws’ competitiveness vis-à-vis the rest of Europe. But there are no guarantees for this.

The Super League crash clearly shows how supporters in general do not want to see this development for their clubs or for football in general and with a strong supporter movement, association democracy and the 51% rule, we strengthen supporters’ voices and can in this way influence the direction of football in Sweden.

For us, it is obvious that our associations must be at least 51% member-owned and that each member has one vote. We see member democracy as one of the most important in Swedish football and the entire Swedish sports movement. Association democracy is one of Swedish football’s biggest competitive advantages. Supporters from all over Europe look enviously at how we in Sweden are involved and influence our associations, how close we are to them and how this in turn has led to a fantastic popular movement and a supporter culture of absolute world class.

Thanks to the rule on member ownership, we can influence our situation through a democratic process. This may, for example, be the introduction of VAR, where several clubs will now work to counter VAR in Swedish football after motions from supporters that were voted through at annual meetings.

Get involved in your local association and do not take association democracy for granted!

Maintain the 51% rule!