The controversial soccer Super League seems to have convinced the EU that it is time to get serious about the sport.
On Tuesday in Strasbourg, European lawmakers overwhelmingly backed a report on EU sports policy calling for a European sports model based on “solidarity, inclusion, open competition and fairness.” The report strongly opposes the separatist leagues, an opportunity for the rebel Super League, which thrown and collapsed quickly in April.
And the political will to shield the European sports model is not limited to the European Parliament. According to a draft EU Council resolution seen by POLITICO, EU ministers are prepared to highlight the “consequences that closed sports competitions could have on organized sport in Europe.”
The resolution was endorsed by the EU deputy ambassadors last week and its final approval is scheduled for 30 November.
Although the Council resolution and Parliament’s report are not legally binding, they are part of a clear direction of travel as EU policy crystallizes against the Super League, whose sponsors do not give up and fight against the governing body of football. European Union, UEFA, at the Court of Justice. Justice of the EU, in a case that will mark the governance of football in Europe for the next decades.
Tomasz Frankowski, the center-right Polish MEP and former professional footballer who led the work on the Parliament report, said its adoption was a key moment for the future of sport in Europe.
“Cooperation at all levels is essential to enhance and promote in Europe a model of sport open to all, based on values, solidarity, equity and open competition,” he said. “We must protect him from the closed competitions of the elite clubs.”
In the plenary debate in Strasbourg on Monday evening, the vice-president of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, called for “an open model, which rewards sporting merit, which prioritizes solidarity and sustainability, not profit and power.”
in a letter to MEPs before the vote, the football supporters Europe fan organization told lawmakers that “this crisis requires a political response. Too often our clubs, our communities and the entire socio-cultural ecosystem that makes European football so unique are threatened by stark economic interests. They need protection. “
For their part, the leaders of the Super League insist the proposed competition is not actually a dissident or closed league, and after the vote it again accused Switzerland-based UEFA of being a “monopoly private regulator” that also acts as a “sole and dominant operator and gatekeeper.”
The Council resolution will be a victory for the Slovenian presidency, as it is the first resolution adopted at EU level on the European sports model in more than two decades.
In the resolution, the ministers also want to “Promote values in sports and sports organizations… governed in compliance with the principles of democracy, transparency, integrity, solidarity, gender equality, openness, accountability, accessibility, social responsibility. and respect for human rights “.
It also calls for sporting issues to be included in the Conference discussions on the future of Europe.
A spokesman for the Slovenian Council presidency said that cooperation with the incoming French presidency had been “very good” on sports policy.
This is just the beginning for the EU, added Frankowski. “It is important to continue this debate on the future of sport in Europe, involving all players in sport, and in which the EU institutions have a role to play.”