WE HAVE TO PUT THE FANS AT THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING

We will talk about the Covid-19 pandemic and how to complete all the competitions. We are not yet at the center of the crisis, but we are still very much affected. We still don't have the fans, the players are pushed beyond their physical limits as they are forced to play in a very congested schedule. Losses have been around 6.5 billion and 8.5 billion in the two seasons, about 360 first division clubs need money to the tune of about 6 billion, the top 20 clubs in terms of income have faced a loss of 1.1 billion in the 2019/20 season.


This crisis is weighing on the shoulders of all clubs. In recent months there has been interesting from some large financial players in football, just think of what is still happening in Italy with the negotiations with the funds. But I am also thinking of many other situations, starting with the leaks about JP Morgan's interest in the Superleague.

These people are not interested in solidarity, but in returns on investment. If we change, we can look at these investments. Football, economics, and politics are at a crossroads. We must intercept these possibilities and act, otherwise, we risk imploding. There is potential for a bright future. It is our duty to intercept a change, otherwise, the risk is to implode.


We have to put the fans at the center. The current system is not made for modern fans. Research says that at least a third of them follow at least two teams; 10 percent follow the players, not the clubs, and this is very different from a few years ago. Two-thirds of them follow competitions because they are attracted by big events. There are many matches that are non-competitive in the championships and this does not capture the interest of the fans. Fans cannot be taken for granted and we have to offer them the best possible competition, otherwise, we risk losing them.


For this, I think about the discussions that we at ECA have had with UEFA in recent months. I want to thank President Ceferin for our discussions and the almost arguments we had, but they were productive. Today we will have a presentation on the formats for international competitions from 2024 onwards: the famous Swiss system. I want to acknowledge that this idea came from one of our members, Van der Sar of Ajax. The memorandum with UEFA expires in three years, before the start of the new cycle and we are working on this front with president Ceferin.

We have to think not about particular interests, but collectively. We were trying to hold together interests that are far from each other: we have to think collectively. If every time we sit down we try to bring to the international table the problems we have at home, it becomes difficult to solve anything.


I want to close by quoting Mario Draghi: 'If we do not move, we will remain alone in the illusion of what we are, in the oblivion of what we have been and in the denial of what we could be.



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