Discussion centred on major issues facing European supporters and how UEFA can engage fans as genuine stakeholders
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The UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin yesterday met with Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and supporters’ associations from England and Spain including club supporters’ groups from both countries.
The meeting launched a new drive by UEFA to engage more formally with fan’s groups and discuss issues of importance to them. It is one of several steps being undertaken by UEFA to build a direct stakeholder relationship with fans and offer increased communication lines for consultation on areas around the governance of football and issues affecting fans across Europe.
“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 the UEFA President.
Mr. Čeferin reiterated his appreciation to the fans of those clubs who showed such vehement opposition to the creation of a so called ‘Super League,’ and stressed that UEFA and fans shared similar views on the principles that shall govern European competitions.
“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” Mr. Čeferin added.
As the vaccination programmes against COVID-19 accelerate across Europe, the meeting also touched on the return of fans to stadiums, which must place priority on the safety of fans, players and match-day staff.
With respect to the new UEFA club competitions format, Mr. Čeferin acknowledged the concerns expressed by supporters on some of its elements and stressed that it is UEFA’s responsibility to consult all stakeholders and strike the right balance across all their needs and expectations. Mr. Čeferin confirmed that fans will be invited to offer their views during the next round of consultation.
Ronan Evain, Executive Director of Football Supporters Europe said: “Today’s meeting provided fans and UEFA with an opportunity to discuss the fallout from and lessons of the Super League crisis.
“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.”
Alongside Football Supporters Europe, the meeting was attended by the following fan groups:
- Arsenal Supporters’ Trust
- Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
- English Football Supporters Association (The FSA)
- Manchester City Supporters’ Club
- Manchester United Supporters’ Trust
- Seguiment FCB (FC Barcelona)
- Spanish National Supporters Association (FASFE)
- Spirit of Shankly (Liverpool FC)
- Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust
- Unión Internacional de Peñas (Atlético de Madrid)