Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

FIFA wants EU to restrict foreign ownership of clubs

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants the European Union to act to deter foreign ownership of football clubs, particularly in England, but also across the 27-country bloc.

"Something has to be done about these billionaire owners," Mr Blatter told reporters in the European Parliament on Monday (6 October) after meeting with MEPs to discuss the issue.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"These days you can buy a club as easily as you buy a football jersey. There is something wrong and that's why I ask the European Union to act."

"This is not just about England where the problem is acute," the chief of the game's ruling body added. "This will spread across Europe."

The English Premier League is awash with owners from overseas. Out of 20 clubs, eight belong to foreign investors. He compared the situation in Europe with that in non-EU-member state Switzerland.

"There are national laws in Switzerland," he said. "When you buy property or make an investment, you must prove yourself."

"You have to prove your link with the area."

"These people arrive, buy the clubs but they can leave at any moment," he said. "That creates a risk of instability for these teams and the competition as a whole. Ideally a way should be found for clubs to be financed by local investors."

Mr Blatter voiced concern that the current financial crisis could have a knock-on effect on the game.

"There must be better control of football's finances especially in the difficult climate we are facing," he said. "I urge UEFA to work with the EU to tighten up the rules, otherwise there will be big financial difficulties in the future."

Ugly sister

Separately, Mr Blatter also criticised UEFA's decision to rebrand the UEFA Cup as the Europa League.

The UEFA Cup has been something of the ugly sister to the highly profitable Champions' League, with the Europa move is intended to correct this situation. In the new Europa League, there will now be a group stage with 12 groups of four teams, playing home and away, instead of eight groups of five, playing single matches.

However, the FIFA chief worries that instead, the Europa League will just seem like a second division version of the Champions' League.

"We have the Champions League and this new Europa League which essentially is a first and second division in Europe," he told reporters.

Opinion

EU should limit pay TV for football

A European list of protected football events is recommendable not only for social and cultural reasons, but also for economic ones.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Interpreters at the European Parliament are fed up with remote interpretation, citing auditory health issues given the poor quality of the online sessions.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  2. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  3. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  4. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  5. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  6. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  7. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  8. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us