January 23 – The European Leagues body, so often the poor relation in football’s stakeholders group, particularly when it comes to FIFA’s competition objectives, is lobbying its way towards the centre of decision making and a stronger relationship with UEFA.
Pedro Proença, president of the European Leagues, was at UEFA headquarters in Nyon this week, meeting with UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
One area where UEFA and the European Leagues are in total alignment is in the resistance to the European Super League proposal that was given some oxygen but seemingly little traction with the European Court ruling that it would not be organising an illegal league if it could find enough clubs eager to join.
UEFA and most other European football stakeholders want to cut the snake off at the head and following their meeting Čeferin emphasised the role of the leagues as one of “the cornerstones of football in our continent”.
Essential to this is the stakeholders maintaining a united front. But while the prevailing opinion is solidly against a Super League, football can be fickle and club owners notoriously duplicitous when it comes to their own interests.
The two presidents emphasised the excellent cooperation and understanding between the two organisations, underlining the commitment to stand together and maintain a united front for the good of the game.
Pedro Proença stressing the importance of the meeting: “It is essential that we strengthen cooperation between the two organisations and show the solid harmony between the main stakeholders of the football pyramid in defending the existing competition formats In protecting the essence of football as we love it, based on merit, the right to dream and solidarity, and in maintaining a fair balance between European and domestic competitions.”
That the European Leagues and UEFA are strengthening their relationship and co-operation, will be music to the ears of the World Leagues Forum who have complained that neither they or their members have been consulted on FIFA’s new Club World Cup.
FIFA’s too frequently used political tactic of driving wedges between stakeholders where it will suit their own ambitions has seemingly had the opposite effect in Europe.
Čeferin said: “European Leagues are an essential stakeholder in European football due to their representation and advocacy for the interests of domestic leagues, which remain one of the cornerstones of football in our continent. Their valuable contributions to shaping the future of our sport and protecting its essential values in these sensitive times are deeply valued.”
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