Roberta Metsola, the First Vice President of the European Parliament, has weighed in on a proposal from football teams to form a European Super League, insisting that plans send a dangerous message that football, and sport in general, is about money and success.
“It’s a slap in the face after a pandemic year and to all those people who support this beautiful game,” she said in an interview on BBC4 Radio.
The football world has been rocked by the news that 12 clubs have agreed to create a Super League – a new midweek competition separate from domestic competition. It’s created a civil war among governing bodies, like UEFA and FIFA, and the clubs involved with the breakaway competition, with the former threatening to ban players from most competitions.
Most criticism is focused on plans to ensure that the so-called ‘Founding Clubs’, would have their participation guaranteed, with many fearing it would stifle competition.
Speaking to Evan Davis, Metsola explained that while the concept is nothing new, it does not make it any less worrying on the impact it could have on the sport.
“It’s more than success and money, it’s about community, culture, identity, belonging, and the fight of the underdog,” she said.
Metsola revealed that the European Parliament is exploring the anti-trust and competition elements of the proposal. However, it was far too early to see what could be done.
She said that the issue will likely be handled in sport arbitration courts, but it was important to keep up the pressure to ensure that “fans can get out of this mess”.
The plans have prompted widespread condemnation, with both former and current coaches and players speaking out against the proposal. Governments have even started the chime in with the issue set to be a key talking point in the sporting world for months to come.
Malta Football Association head Bjorn Vassallo has also weighed on the issue, with the implications of the formation of a Super League expected to undermine the financial stability of Malta’s governing organisation and domestic clubs.
“There are big negative implications for all 55 member associations in Europe, including Malta. Europe works on a solidarity mechanism. The Super League will be based on a closed competition where the business will be making money for shareholders and clubs,” he said.
Expect further developments in the coming days and weeks.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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