Mar 25, 2019
SD Europe in Sevilla: Passion is not negotiated
Recently, SD Europe took part in an important conference in sunny Seville, Spain. The conference, ‘EL PROTAGONISMO DEL AFICIONADO EN EL FÚTBOL’ was jointly organised by our members FASFE and Accionistas Unidos of Sevilla FC.
The meeting was held with the goal of deepening the developments of the internal reformation of Ley del Deporte, and the central role that fans and small shareholders can play in the future of Sevilla. The aim of the conference was to highlight the contribution of local fan group Accionistas Unidos, the fan organisation that brings together small shareholders of Sevilla FC, and SD Europe members, FASFE.
During the conference we were able to hear the latest news on the evolution of Ley del Deporte. During the time of our joint Erasmus + project ‘Clubs and Supporters for Better Governance in Football’, Fasfe put together a reformation strategy, with the help of experts and local associations. After nearly two years, groups such as Accionistas Unidos have produced some key points to be reformed. Now the umbrella organisation is finalizing a shared proposal.
For a long time, FASFE and Spanish groups have been proposing substantial changes to the rules on sports clubs to overcome Sociedad anónima deportiva (SAD) model. Fans are working together to shape a new democratic model with the goal of protecting club heritage and bringing the fans back to the center of the game.
Emilio Abejon, FASFE’s secretary, says: “Supporters are, for some unexplained reason, not contemplated on our current Sports Law. For some years FASFE has been working hard for this to change. Now, a new law is being drafted and together with FASFE, many fan organisations are participating in the process. The first draft of the law includes some of our proposals, most importantly, the suppression of the obligation of being constructed as a SAD, to compete in a professional league. But we think this is not enough. Measures promoting democracy and good governance through supporter’s participation, have to be included in the new law in order to foster the sustainability of our game and acknowledge the role of clubs as cultural and social institutions representing local communities. This is what we have been debating today in Seville”.
It is necessary to include supporters in the governance of clubs. The lawyer Francisco González said in his speech: “the material and immaterial heritage of the club in 1992 (stadium, sports city, shield, flag, anthem, …) belonged to fans. When in 1992, this patrimony was transferred to the shareholders that have subscribed the shares, it was made with the tacit mandate that they keep it for future generations, just as our ancestors did. The shareholders were aware of this assignment and assumed it, in fact they subscribed the shares at a very low price in relation to the real value of that equity. During this time, the majority shareholders have benefited from their management in the club (dividends, salaries, social prestige, business relations, activities, …)”.
“Selling this heritage now, after 27 years, taking into account the above, is a violation of that tacit commission, of good faith, is going against their own acts, which is proscribed, an abuse of right and therefore benefit of that sale would suppose a clear unjust enrichment. And these 27 years has created through fans the expectation, the conviction and the assurance that the shareholders would have preserved the heritage for future generations.”
Our hosts, Accionistas Unidos of Sevilla FC understand this battle and they have taken an active role fighting to preserve traditions of their club. They held a protest last December, with a huge crowd of fans marching together with the slogans: “Sevilla is not for sale” and “our passion is not negotiated” around the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, sending a clear message to those aspiring to put their hands on their club.
— El Día Después en Movistar+ (@ElDiaDespues) 17 dicembre 2018
Local supporters have been long contesting the management of the club by the current owner. Sevilla FC is historically controlled by local wealthy families, but has a substantial participation of small shareholders involved with Accionistas Unidos. In the past few months, the majority shareholders have begun to round up the shares of the small shareholders with a view to possibly transfer the control to an American investor.
To oppose the entry of foreign investors, who seem to be very interested in the land of the stadium owned by the football club, the small shareholders are attempting to block the sale. They are trying to legally change the club statute, by inserting rules that prevent the transfer of the majority of the shares to people with any bond with the city and the local area.
— SD Europe (@SDEurope07) 15 marzo 2019
Loukas Anastasiadis of SD Europe, shared with the attendees the activities of our European network supporting the action of democratically organised fans underlining the importance of working together to boost fans’ power. He emphasized the importance of joint growth and shared experiences that come from cooperation on common issues, such as in our E+ projects “Clubs and Supporters for Better Governance in Football”. Loukas also gave an update of our current LIAISE project, which is developing the role of the Supporters Liaison Officer at European level.
— SD Europe (@SDEurope07) 15 marzo 2019