We do not need any Ivory Tower in football!
(Nyon 10 December 2019)
2019 has been a year full of discussions around the future of professional club competitions, in Europe and elsewhere. The latest contribution has been the establishment of a world club association and the idea of building a private worldwide league.
We are getting very tired of all the threats coming from a few rich clubs in football. Threats that they are going to break away from the football ecosystem as we know it and create their own private environment.
Professional club football is an industry, based on links and cooperation with amateur and semi-professional football all over the world where clubs, leagues and football associations are working hard to find and develop talents, letting them grow into professional athletes and entertainers.
Association football is built on this basis and formed as a pyramid on domestic and international level. Every level is interlinked and all have a responsibility for the wellbeing of the other, even if the conditions are different from territory to territory.
The dream is alive, for clubs and players, girls and boys, that one day they may reach a professional level and they can even make it all the way to the top.
Professional club football is not a private business for a few where only the size of the pockets determines who is welcome.
If anybody does not want to be part of association football, it is of course their own decision. If they would like to create something private and closed, it should not be under the umbrella of association football and the way professional football is organised by associations and leagues. Neither on world level, nor on confederation or domestic level. These clubs should not participate in domestic leagues as they exist today, nor in international association football tournaments unless they are prepared to participate in a model which offers benefits to all.
Football is a sport and not primarily a place for financial investment and commercial return. Of course, football must develop and move with the times according to the conditions in every corner of the world. Football must be prepared for reform when conditions change.
However, the solution is not a closed league at the top of the pyramid in Europe and certainly not a closed shop on top of the world where only a few of the richest clubs are invited.
It is time to pay respect to all the millions of football fans around the world, to all players and leaders in clubs who work so hard to make our wonderful game what it is today.
Let’s concentrate on developing exciting and competitive domestic competitions. Let these be the solid foundation we need to then build the international competitions and to safeguard the guiding principles for our sport. Keep them interlinked, where domestic success gives access to international competitions and glory.
European Leagues President
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