European Leagues, which represents football leagues from across Europe, has today (Friday) presented what it calls its own principles to contribute to reforming and improving European club competitions from 2024 onwards, with the protection of domestic leagues identified as one of three key principles.
European Leagues has also identified increased participation and a fairer financial distribution as criteria that should be adhered to. The organisation said the three starting points are key to starting a “new era of cooperation” with Uefa, the governing body of European football, which wants to revamp its Champions League and Europa League competitions from 2024.
European Leagues said it hopes to work with Uefa to find an agreement with football stakeholders on format and access, financial distribution and solidarity, calendar and club coefficient systems, which it feels are the main “interlinked factors” that define European club competitions.
The organisation has also launched a new platform, www.SupportYourLeague.com, to give stakeholders the chance to have a say on how they feel the sport should be operated at all levels across Europe.
It is hoped the platform will inform, educate and engage fans, clubs, players, leagues, national associations, press and media, broadcasters and other commercial partners about the opportunities presented by Uefa’s proposed club competition reform.
Alberto Colombo, deputy general secretary of European Leagues and coordinator of the new campaign, said: “The platform includes feedback from stakeholders, across Europe, on initial proposals for the 2024-27 UCC cycle, along with deep analysis of the evolving dynamic between Uefa Club Competitions and domestic football over the past decade.
“Finally, it includes the concrete proposal of the European Leagues for a fairer revenue distribution model already for the upcoming 2021-24 UCC. We are presenting this information in an effort to provide context and move the UCC reform debate into a more collaborative and inclusive phase.”
European Leagues, which counts 35 professional leagues across the continent as members, has previously said that it would not allow Uefa to play club fixtures on weekends and has rejected the idea that bigger clubs might be guaranteed places in European competitions.
Uefa has held preliminary discussions with the European Club Association over changes to its competitions post-2024, with rumours circulating that the body would look to introduce promotion and relegation in the Champions League and weekend fixtures – which would undermine the status of domestic leagues.
The Support Your League document states that European Leagues is in favour of innovations in football, including evolving Uefa Club Competitions, but insisted these must be under the condition that any changes contribute to the growth of professional football as a whole and “not just for a very few”.
Lars-Christer Olsson, president of European Leagues, added: “The European Leagues, and a wide range of stakeholders, have shown they are open to new innovations providing they are underpinned by the principles of current sporting merits, the primacy of domestic football, and the need to respect the domestic football calendar beloved by fans.
“We are encouraged by Uefa’s commitment to an inclusive approach and feel that this new platform and campaign will enable us to canvas the broadest base of opinions, ideas and strategies possible in a transparent way. We look forward to a healthy and productive process for Uefa Club Competitions reform in the coming months in order to reach an outcome that works for all of European football.”