EC vice-president Margaritis Schinas describes European football as "leading success story" of European sports model.
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European Commission (EC) vice-president Margaritis Schinas has welcomed UEFA's decision to base access to its post-2024 European club competitions on open competition and sporting merit only.
Addressing UEFA's 46th Congress in Vienna, Mr Schinas said: "It confirms the shared commitment of the European football family to values which lie at the core of our European way of life, and the model of society that we stand for."
After close consultation with football stakeholders, including the European Club Association, the European Leagues and Football Supporters Europe (FSE), UEFA's Executive Committee agreed on Tuesday not to allocate two places in the Champions League from 2024/25 according to club coefficient values – a measure of a club's historic performances in European competition.
"European football must remain open, based on sporting merit and serve the interests of all of society," said Mr Schinas, describing European football as "one of the leading success stories" of the European sports model.
Solidarity and sustainability
The model forms the foundations on which most of Europe's sports institutions, organisations and governing bodies are built, and works on the premise that revenue generated at the top by professional competition is reinvested into all levels – from elite sport to local clubs.
"As national associations we know that you are there to prioritise solidarity and sustainability," said Mr Schinas. "Football is about much more than profit and entertainment and, as [Europe's] governing body, you play a vital role to ensure that the commercial success of the elite level is there also to support all other levels – less profitable competitions, amateur sport and development projects."
The vice-president also highlighted football's wider contribution to society beyond the pitch – a key tenet of the European sports model – whether through education, innovation, sustainability or breaking down barriers.
"We also count on you to harness the power of the game as a force for good in our communities, societies and lives across Europe, to develop the game at all levels for all people in all areas," said Mr Schinas.
Protecting the European sports model
The vice-president reiterated the EC's commitment to working with UEFA, its national association partners and European Union (EU) member states to protect and promote the European sports model.
"European public authorities, both at the EU level and in the capitals, recognise our role in supporting you in your important mission. That means acting clearly against threats to our model," said Mr Schinas, pointing to the FSE's recently launched #WinItOnThePitch campaign.
Officially recognised as a European Citizens Initiative, the campaign needs one million signatures from European citizens in a minimum of seven EU member states to force the Commission to develop legislation protecting the principles of the European sports model.
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"It calls for Europe to turn its post-Super League indignation into a clear, practical and long-term plan of action at European level protecting this socially-rooted, open vision of sport," said Mr Schinas.
Mr Schinas added that the Commission plans to renew its cooperation agreement with UEFA, committing both organisations to jointly safeguard football's open model and to pursue European priorities such as social inclusion, climate change and the fight against all forms of discrimination.