ECA hobnobs with European Parliament Sports Group as it pushes for ‘meaningful reform’

March 8 – A delegation from the European Club Association (ECA) yesterday met with  members of the European Parliament Sports Group in Brussels.

The meeting saw the ECA outline its vision for the future as well as share member clubs’ position on a number of key issues currently facing football.

Discussions covered governance, competitions, financial sustainability and solidarity, women’s football, and the ongoing need to ensure the future stability of European club football.

The ECA is forcing its way to the top table of European football stakeholders as it transitions towards a broader based body representing more interests than it has in the past.

ECA CEO Charlie Marshall (pictured) said: “We welcome the opportunity to engage regularly with members of the European Parliament Sports Group. Yesterday’s meeting was a productive and constructive exchange of ideas, and I believe that our discussions will help to inform the important work that both ECA and the Sports Group are doing to drive meaningful change for the benefit of clubs and the wider European football community. We look forward to building on these discussions through continued dialogue in the coming months.”

The ECA is determined to be part of that “meaningful change” and to get there it bringing change within its own organisation and structures, and broadening its base.

Last week the ECA Executive Board, met in Milan, Italy, to approve governance reforms and plans for expansion of its membership.

The ECA said the purpose of the governance reforms was to “bring more democracy, participation and diversity into the leadership and decision-making of ECA leading into the next ECA cycle 2023-27.”

The plans propose a growth in numbers, representation and decision-making for Ordinary Members to around 130 clubs while also opening up Ordinary Membership to women’s clubs based on women’s team performance.

The ECA is also proposing to open up board positions to Associated Members bringing another 160+ clubs closer to the decision-making of the body.

The opening up of the ECA Network which gives ‘aspiring’ European clubs the opportunity to participate more fully in ECA and European club football affairs, has expanded to a potential additional total of 200 clubs.

The speed with which the ECA has opened its doors and gathered club members is increasing the strength of its own voice within European stakeholders. The question for the ECA will inevitably be from its big club stakeholders who will wonder if this expansion potentially means a reduction in their own influence within the body and its policymaking and lobbying.

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