Following the initiative of the UK Presidency of the European Union (EU) to discuss governance in European football, I was asked to chair an
independent review to analyse the ways in which the European football authorities, the EU institutions and member states can best implement the Nice
Declaration on the specific characteristics of sport at European and national levels.
The independent review, which is due be completed at the end of May, aims to evaluate various issues affecting modern-day European football including:
the central role of the football authorities; the ownership, control and management of clubs; the level of expenditure in respect of players;
activities of agents; the system of player registration and movement; the distribution of revenues within European football; the provision of funding
to generate opportunities for all people to participate in football; and investment in football stadia with a focus on safety and security.
Personally, I fully expected to hate everything about this, as 'more bloody EU meddling'. But the more I read, the more the recommendations make
sense. I'll go through the Terms Of Reference
and give my own take on them
1) The “European sports model”: The central role of the football authorities independently to govern the sport while respecting the European
and national legal frameworks and in harmony with the EU institutions and member states
Basically, leave the governing of football to the relevent FA's, but, as EU laws and regulations are made that affect football, 'There is a need for
coordination, dialogue and transparency.' Also, to make sure the sport is looked after properly from grass roots all the way up.
2) The arrangements for overseeing the ownership/control and management of clubs, and to recommend changes where appropriate.
To make sure anyone investing heavily in a club(s) is suitable. Reduce any chance of corruption, match fixing, money laundering etc. And to give the
fans the opportunity to take part in running the clubs
3) The level of expenditure in respect of players, considering the financial (in)stability and concentration of wealth amongst clubs at both an
international and national level, and to recommend changes where appropriate.
So, hopefully we wouldn't see another Leeds Utd type fiasco through overspending. Encourage the development of young talent. Look at putting a cap on
players wages. This will be a contentious one, but just remember, ticket prices are still the #1 money earner for clubs. English Premiership tickets
go from around £30-70 each, mainly to pay wages. Wouldn't you want to see that reduced? Does anyone agree that any
player is good value for
money when their earning £100,000+ a week? Knowing your teams squad are there for the club and not (so much) the money has got to be better than the
kind of 'me, me, me' mentality of some players today.
4) The arrangements by which the football authorities oversee
(i) the activity of agents and intermediaries in respect of both the transfer of players’ registrations and player contract arrangements; and
(ii) the system of player registration and movement, and to recommend changes as appropriate.
Oversee the actions of agents, harmonise transfer systems etc across europe, protect young players interests.
Gotta be a
5) The distribution of revenues generated within European football, considering the financial (in)stability and concentration of wealth amongst
clubs, and to recommend changes where appropriate.
From what I can gather, this means making sure smaller clubs get a slice of the revenue currently going mainly to the largest, wealthiest clubs. A
good idea IMO as at the moment in the EPL, theres seems to be almost a two tier league being created where only a few of the top clubs ever get the
chance to compete in Europe
6) The role of the EU institutions, member states and football authorities in respect of the provision of funding to generate opportunities for
all people to participate in football, considering the level of support from top-level football to recreational football, and to recommend changes as
Pretty self explanatory, can only be a good thing.
7) The role of the EU institutions, member states and football authorities in respect of support and encouragement for investment in football
stadia, with a focus on security and safety.
Again, pretty self explanatory. None of us want to see another tragedy at a game.