Today, the European Commission accepted a proposal from French football fans to force EU governments to legislate so that big football clubs cannot create “superleagues” such as the one that stirred global controversy last year.
The campaigners now need to gather 1 million signatures from at least seven EU countries within 12 months on a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) petition.
Once these are gathered, EU lawyers will be under pressure to draw up new laws to ensure that any promotion and relegation is based on results on the pitch rather US-style boardroom deals that are financially driven.
“As the request for registration of ECI fulfils the formal conditions established in the relevant legislation, the Commission considers that this is legally admissible,” the Commission said.
The breakaway Superleague announced last year triggered a massive fans backlash and media hullaballoo, with most of Europe’s biggest clubs eventually turning away from the plans after coming under intense public criticism.