Nadine Kessler, UEFA chief of women's football, has written an open letter regarding the proposed 'Super League' and its impact on the development of the game.
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Posted via her personal social media channels, the letter is published below in full.
Dear players, dear women’s football champions,
I am sure you have all read about the creation of a closed European Super League with certain top men’s clubs involved and 15 clubs directly seeded (and can never be relegated regardless of performance). You may have also read, as a side comment in the same press release, that this should be replicated in the form of a Women’s European Super League, after the men’s version would supposedly be established.
This news comes without any consultation and at the time where the UEFA Women’s Champions League is about to see a transformative change as of next summer. In other words, it is a direct threat to all the plans we have carefully crafted, together with the ECA, your clubs and the leagues, for the new UEFA Women’s Champions League. A new UWCL that will provide visibility, more competition, financial reward, and solidarity, all with the aim of bringing about a new era for the whole of women’s football. A competition that will be open and therefore allows for clubs and players from all over Europe to continue the dream of winning the most prestigious club trophy in the world.
Why does this impact the women’s game?
Women’s football, its professionalisation and development are still in the early stages. Only a small proportion of players unfortunately have full-time professions and guaranteed access to top class facilities. Whilst there have been momentous strides in the game, we need more clubs, federations and governing bodies investing to provide professional structures for more players to benefit from. And we do not only need more clubs, but a better balance between those clubs, so that more than just a few standout players can thrive on it. These clubs need to be able to have the ambition of being part of the top of European women’s club football, the UEFA Women’s Champions League. With a closed European Women’s Super League, this is not possible. Of course, such development would be equally devastating for all the national leagues, who have made enormous efforts to professionalise the women’s game. All the great steps made in recent years, including the hardship of many players gone before, for our game to become a profession across Europe, will have less of a chance of becoming a reality.
As a former player, as somebody who played, lives, works and breathes for this sport, as somebody who believes in the importance of rivalry with underdogs beating favourites and open competition systems based on sporting merit and allowing for everyone to make it to the top and, therefore believes that the BEST will always win and that the loser will be relegated and try again next season. As somebody who has benefited from the power of solidarity through my own experience and who firmly believes that the power of football lies in its unpredictability, I encourage you to make up your mind about this and take a position, as other players have started to do so.
We always talk about stronger ties between men’s and women’s football, about increased solidarity – now it’s the time to show solidarity. This current entire football ecosystem funds everything from grassroots to elite, including women’s football – vital funding streams, that these parts of the game, our game, depend on.
Please take some time to read into the details of this debate and why the football pyramid with its principles of solidarity have made our sport the most successful in the world.
No matter how you make up your mind, your opinion as a player, as a women’s football champion matters, women’s football’s opinion matters. The values of our sport matter in times when greed seems to overshadow the broader needs of society and football as a whole. Because solidarity matters!