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Small European club association UEC elects president

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Small European club association UEC elects president

As of: April 24, 2024 8:27 p.m

As an association of smaller clubs, the UEC wants to be a counterweight to the powerful ECA. On Wednesday it elected its first president and published a list of its members for the first time.

At their first general meeting, the clubs elected a 16-member board and Alex Muzio, the president of the Union of European Clubs (UEC). Muzio is managing director of the Belgian first division club Royal Union Saint-Gilloise. Saint-Gille is one of 141 clubs that are now members of the UEC, according to the organization.

141 members – but only a little more than half are known

74 clubs from 19 countries open their membership. Twelve of them come from England, including Burnley FC and one from the Premier League. Spain also has twelve members, including three first division clubs: CA Osasuna, FC Granada and UD Las Palmas. Clubs from Germany are not included in the published list.

View of the Burnley FC stadium, Turf Moor

However, the UEC notes that in addition to the 74 publicly named, there are 67 other clubs from 25 countries that have not yet made their membership public. So far, no club from Germany has confirmed membership in the UEC, but at least five Bundesliga clubs were present at an information event around a year ago.

Muzio is demanding formal recognition from UEFA

“This general assembly, the increasing number of members, the geographical diversity of the clubs represented on the board and the democratic principles give the UEC every right to knock on UEFA’s door for formal recognition,” Muzio said in a statement.

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In terms of sports policy, recognition by UEFA is the explosive point. The European Club Association (ECA) is currently the only alliance of clubs recognized by UEFA. The ECA has been very powerful for years – without its consent, no changes to the format or the distribution of money in the European Cup are possible.

The ECA repeatedly emphasizes that it is the only recognized representative of the club’s interests. It has already made it clear to its members that it does not accept simultaneous membership in both organizations and has publicly spoken disparagingly about the UEC. Bayer Leverkusen’s managing director Fernando Carro, a board member of the ECA, told Sportschau in April that he saw “no future” for the UEC.

Goals: Better association management, more equal competition, financial sustainability

The UEC repeatedly criticized the ECA. Accordingly, the ECA has a say in particular for the large clubs and structurally ignores the smaller ones. It stands for an unequal distribution of money that cements the balance of power in European football. The ECA always contradicted these representations.

The UEC formulated goals at its meeting:

she demands a more democratic model for European club football. The principle should be: “One club, one vote.”
More equal competition in and between national leagues: In addition to rejecting competition reforms in favor of the big clubs, new mechanisms should distribute money differently among the clubs instead of increasing differences.
The new Financial Fair Play should be supported of UEFA. However, effective enforcement of sanctions is required.

The UEC has always emphasized on previous occasions that it does not want to replace the ECA, but rather provide a counterweight to it.

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ECA reports 130 percent increase in clubs

The ECA also announced on Wednesday after a board meeting that it now has 620 members. At the beginning of the season there were 266, so the increase is 130 percent – evidence of greater integration of smaller clubs.

However, this includes numerous “network members” and so-called “affiliated members” who have little or no voting rights. The voting rights lie primarily with the big clubs in the major leagues.

Spain’s league boss supports the founding of the UEC

A polarizing figure plays an important role in the UEC: Javier Tebas, head of the Spanish league, supported the UEC when it was founded. Tebas is considered one of the most undiplomatic officials in international football.

Javier Tebas, president of Spain’s La Liga

Most recently, he led La Liga from the alliance of European leagues, which in his opinion “only meets to drink coffee”. Tebas supported the UEC several times with public appearances at its events.

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