French sports minister warns UEFA federations of dangers of multi-club ownership

February 8 – French sports minister Amélie Oudea-Castéra gave her backing today to maintaining the status quo in European football, taking a veiled swipe at the idea of a European Super League and, more potently, warning of the dangers of multiple club ownership.

In her address to the UEFA Congress in Paris, Oudea-Castéra added her weight to an earlier report that French President Emmanuel Macron and UEFA chief Aleksander Čeferin had expressed “their shared vision in favour of the European sporting model, based on open competitions, the principle of solidarity, sporting merit and recognition of the social impact of sport”, according to a statement released by the Elysee Palace

The statement did not mention the rebel Super League, but Macron “reaffirmed France’s determination to defend this model and the ability of European federations to organize competitions”.

In her own address, Oudea-Castéra lent her support to the existing open structure which, she said, was the “very identity of our European model.”

She urged European football leaders to protect the sport from multiple ownership warning of a scenario where “a small number of investors would have control over European football. These are threats to our sporting principles and we need to be vigilant to such threats.”

The same owners are involved, for instance, in both Chelsea and Strasbourg while Lyon and Crystal Palace fall into the same category, as do Manchester City and surprise La Liga front runners Girona. Technically UEFA rules would allow only one of the latter two to enter the Champions League next season.

“You are the guardians of our principles of our sport,” Oudéa-Castéra told her audience, including Ceferin. “We need to recognise the risk to circumventing rules and sometimes the threat to fairness of competitions.”

Switching to the new scourge of racism in football, Oudea-Castéra added her voice to those calling for zero tolerance “whether we’re talking about violence in or around our stadiums, or any form of discrimination, racism, antisemitism, homophobia.”

“I have to say vehemently that we cannot accept our sport being tarnished by such actions, and therefore, I call on all the leaders of the game … to take their responsibility.”

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