Uefa faces call for governance reform to stem Super League threat

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  • Fifpro and European Leagues to issue ‘manifesto of governance’
  • Bodies want more representation for players, leagues and fans

Two organisations at the heart of European football have broken ranks with Uefa, calling for complete reform of governance to prevent the recurring threat of a Super League.

Fifpro, the international players’ union, and European Leagues, which represents domestic competitions across the continent, are to issue a “joint manifesto of governance” which demands greater representation for players, leagues and fans at the highest level.

The “agreed principles” of the manifesto states “all stakeholders (including all professional clubs, federations and fans) share a joint responsibility for collective governance structures and thus should have appropriate involvement, representation and influence on matters of legitimate interests in the European football governance model”.

This is understood to be a direct challenge to Uefa’s system of governance which sees representatives of players and leagues, as well as fans, missing from or underrepresented on key committees, especially when compared with the representation enjoyed by the body representing Europe’s biggest clubs, the European Club Association.

The European Leagues has one seat on the Uefa executive committee to the ECA’s two. The Professional Football Strategy Council, which features an equal membership between Uefa, the clubs, the leagues and Fifpro, has not met for more than two years.

The manifesto will be published on Wednesday but its themes were taken up at a Fifpro policy forum in Brussels on Tuesday. Although representatives from across the game – including the Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association – were in attendance, representatives from Uefa and the ECA did not accept the invitation.

Speaking in Brussels the Fifpro general secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, said: “The current system of governance is no longer able to deal with the decisions that need to be taken and to balance the voices that need to be heard.

“Some of the clubs who have the largest influence were the ones who want to break away, and those who had least say were resisting. I think that should all tell us something.

“There is a hyper-attention to commercial concerns but to take forward constructive decisions on governance is practically impossible. Unilateral decisions need to be replaced by co-stewardship of the game.”

The manifesto is an attempt by some organisations lacking influence at the top of the game to push back during a time of upheaval. The fact that the aborted Super League was followed quickly by pushback against Fifa’s plans for a biennial World Cup have been read as signs of instability in the structure.

The PFA’s deputy chief executive, Bobby Barnes, said the proposals put forward by Arsène Wenger for a biennial World Cup were when “consultation is simply information”. Speaking in Brussels he said: “If you are considered as a true stakeholder, negotiation must take place before presentation.”

(By Paul MacInnes, The Guardian, 26.10.2021)

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