Wednesday

2nd Dec 2020

France urges EU action against England football clubs

  • Manchester United - English clubs dominate the European arena by outspending others, France says (Photo: Wikipedia)

France's sports minister, Bernard Laporte, warned on Thursday (27 November) that English football pre-eminence was getting out of hand and that Brussels needs to referee the situation.

"We see European competitions between participants of two or three nations," he told a two-day summit of EU sports ministers. "Where is the uncertainty in such a sporting contest?"

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

English clubs have been in the last four finals of the UEFA Champions League, winning twice and runners up three times. Critics in France and in UEFA complain that lax financial rules in the UK allow teams to borrow heavily to attract more top players and to regularly increase salaries to keep them, while stricter regulation in other European jurisdictions prevents similar action.

The French EU presidency has complained this is unfair and that the EU - which has no mandate to legislate around sport - should step in and regulate.

"Certain things are out of hand and we cannot deal with them just on a national level," Mr Laporte said, according to reports from Bloomberg news.

Mr Laporte was due to unveil at the meeting French proposals for the establishment of a body at the European level modelled on France's national pro-sports regulator, the Direction Nationale du Controle de Gestion (DNCG), which oversees professional football in the country.

France has insisted it is not proposing a football super-regulator, just some form of EU-level oversight of sports clubs' financial accounts.

The French minister was backed in his thinking by European Commission sports commissioner Jan Figel.

"Sport does not and cannot exist outside EU law," said the commissioner. "We need to find legally sound solutions to confront problems. The commission stands ready [to step in]."

UEFA is understood to have earlier supported the French plans, but ahead of the meeting, the European football body's chief, Michel Platini, said he was opposed to an EU sporting "super-regulator."

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Platini said he was against government intervention in sport: "I don't want to interfere in the league of every country,"

"I don't want to interfere in the Ukrainian, Spanish, Italian, French, or English league competitions," he added. "We will try to find a good solution to say how we can have more transparency and more regulatory in the competition."

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.

EU pushes back against rising homophobia

The EU Commission plans a proposal to ensure recognition children-parent relations in cross border situations, and legislation to support the mutual recognition of parenthood between member states.

Pandemic exposed gulf in EU digital-schooling

EU states who invested in digital education were better able to protect students from the pandemic, a new report has said. Meanwhile, poor and rural pupils were worse off.

EU Commission unveils 'adequate minimum wage' plan

The European Commission proposed minimum standards to ensure adequate minimum wages all across the EU. But the proposal does not oblige member states to harmonise their systems, nor does it set a common minimum wage level.

Polish court effectively bans legal abortions

The human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe said the ruling marked a "sad day for women's rights", adding that more women will seek abortions underground and abroad.

Pandemic exposed gulf in EU digital-schooling

EU states who invested in digital education were better able to protect students from the pandemic, a new report has said. Meanwhile, poor and rural pupils were worse off.

Coronavirus

EU seeks more health powers after dubious Covid-19 response

After the lack of coordination evidenced during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission put forward a set of proposals to strengthen the preparedness of members states in cross-border health threats.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. EU law needed to protect free press, NGOs say
  2. Socialists demand resignation of EU border-agency chief
  3. Orbán ally admits he was at Brussels lockdown 'sex party'
  4. Legal battle over oil giant Shell's emissions begins
  5. Chance for Christian Democrats to draw line against extremism
  6. Frontex takes transparency activists to EU court
  7. EU's opportunity to curb online politics ads
  8. China and Russia encircling divided Western allies

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us