May 13 – After the storm come the talking shops. UEFA president, Aleksander Čeferin has begun meetings with supporters groups as he follows up on his promise to engage the European body more formally with fan groups.
Yesterday (May 12) Čeferin met with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and supporters’ associations from England and Spain including club supporters’ groups from both countries.
“I have said on many occasions that fans are the heart of football and we need to do more to engage them as a legitimate stakeholder. They have much to contribute and we should give them a voice on important relevant matters,” said Čeferin.
Recognising the impact the fans protests had on scuppering the latest iteration of the European Super League project, he made it clear that UEFA was in alignment with their concerns.
Ronan Evain, Executive Director of Football Supporters Europe, said: “The past few weeks have demonstrated the dangers of a football that only serves the interests of the elite. We must all redouble our efforts to make the game fairer and more sustainable.
“We welcome the commitment of the UEFA President to reinforcing the position of fans as key stakeholders, and look forward to meaningful dialogue on the future of UEFA club competitions, away fans’ rights, safe standing, and other issues that impact fans.”
The meeting also addressed the covid-19 vaccination programmes and the safe return of fans to stadiums (including placing priority on the safety of fans, players and match-day staff).
Čeferin acknowledged the concerns expressed by supporters on some of its club competition plans and said all stakeholders would be consulted to find a balance, and that fan groups would be part of that consultation.
“Through our mutual commitments to the European spirit of football, we can safeguard its unique and cherished pyramidal structure. We must be creative and innovative – together – and clear on our objectives going forward,” said Čeferin.
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