‘Fans must have their say’ – FSA encouraged by commitment from UEFA boss Ceferin

The leader of European football’s governing body met with fans’ groups on Wednesday.

By Press Association Published: 13 May 2021 - 1.26pm

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin will listen to fans before making final decisions on the new-look Champions League, according to the Football Supporters’ Association.

The Slovenian met with representatives from the FSA and supporters’ groups connected to the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ clubs on Wednesday to discuss the future outlook for the European game after the birth and near-immediate collapse of the Super League last month.

He was told that UEFA should abandon its plans to grant two places in the revamped Champions League from 2024 based on historical performance rather than via domestic competition, and that fans were opposed to the idea of four additional matches due to be added to the group phase.

UEFA’s executive committee announced major changes to the Champions League on April 19, but they were overshadowed by the statement confirming the launch of the Super League the previous evening.

Ceferin, who has praised the efforts of fans in forcing the collapse of the ESL, has been urged to reconsider those plans, and the FSA’s chief executive Kevin Miles was “encouraged” by his commitment to engage with fans.

“We have made it absolutely crystal clear to UEFA and Aleksander Ceferin that allowing clubs to qualify for Europe based on anything other than sporting merit is completely unacceptable and fans oppose any expansion of the Champions League,” Miles said.

“Any format which allows clubs to compete based on prestige or historic performance is a capitulation to the same greedy owners who tried to form their breakaway European Super League. We won’t accept a bad option just because there was a worse one.

“Supporters across the continent want to see UEFA reward sporting merit, respect domestic competition and share the wealth that football has, rather than allow the greediest owners to hoard it.

“As supporters we don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we were encouraged by President Ceferin’s commitment to more engagement and consultation from UEFA before any final decision is reached. Fans must have their say in how football is run.”

Ceferin said: “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.”

UEFA has agreed a peace deal with nine of the 12 ESL clubs, although one of the terms was their “full commitment” to its post-2024 reforms.

The three clubs who have not renounced the Super League – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – are the subject of a disciplinary investigation.

Disciplinary inspectors must make a decision on which, if any, of UEFA’s regulations the clubs violated.

Ceferin has warned that the clubs who continued to support the breakaway league would be banned from UEFA competitions.

BT Sport Monthly Pass

Join the home of live sport for just £25 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.