Protecting the pyramid – in Europe as well as the UK
BLOG | BY CHIEF EXECUTIVE MATT EVERETT
At ClubView, we have made no apologies for the fact that a big part of our motivation is protecting the sporting integrity of the football pyramid. We put our team together with a shared passion for this, and the aim of driving and facilitating change across the whole industry.
Of course many examples exist of issues caused by finances affecting the pyramid system. In England, we have regularly seen points deductions which affect sporting integrity, and sadly recently clubs liquidating completely such as Bury and Macclesfield.
In Scotland, Rangers started again in League Two and outside of football, Saracens were demoted from the rugby Premiership for salary cap breaches.
We believe that stronger governance and better financial reporting by Leagues can help to solve many of these issues.
But it is not just in the UK that pyramids are at risk. I read again with interest last week as the prospect of a European Super League again reared its head.
This time, talk was of 15 ‘founder member clubs’ – including 6 from England but of course the other big hitters from across Europe as well – earning up to €350m each for joining.
This is, of course, serious money – and a threat that seems unlikely to go away.
But what of those clubs native league systems? The continued sustainability and integrity of those competitions relies on the big hitters playing a full – and committed – part in them. That also applies to the existing European competition format with the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
At ClubView, our system helps to empower Leagues to grow, to the benefit of all clubs. We can improve governance and reporting, but also identify key revenue streams that could be increased and costs that are unsustainable.
What is clear is that this will be key in Europe as well as the UK, to ensure the Leagues retain their full quota of clubs. We can help Leagues to grow, sustainably, and benefit all of their clubs.
I was encouraged by the swift and strong rebuttals by FIFA, UEFA and European Leagues. The latter in particular recognising the strength of the pyramid, stating “The European sports model is based on sporting merit, promotion and relegation with qualification to international club competitions via domestic league competitions. In the European football pyramid, every player has the opportunity to play in a club which can qualify from the base of the pyramid to the very top of professional football. This is the foundation of the model and the main reason for football’s success. We are determined to protect the existing model and how football is organised in Europe and the way the industry works for professional football.”
Banning players who play in ‘unlicensed’ competitions from representing clubs or countries in their own tournaments ‘should’ be a big deterrent. Whether it will be big enough though remains to be seen.
The ClubView platform is designed to to empower Leagues themselves, and show strong leadership to their clubs, which will clearly be needed to satisfy those few clubs determined to break away.
Hopefully our technology and approach can play a part in that, to sustain the pyramids of the beautiful game.