Fair Game and UEC seal unique partnership
Today, Darlington FC, along with 33 other professional football clubs from across the English football pyramid joined the recently formed Union of European Clubs.
The 34 clubs are all members of Fair Game, a group campaigning for improved governance in football, and takes the UEC’s membership to over 150 clubs across the continent.
The UEC’s clubs includes top-flight and second-division clubs throughout European football. Headquartered in Brussels, the organisation seeks to promote a fair, sustainable and balanced football ecosystem across the continent – a vision fully in line with the values of Fair Game.
This move sees all 34 Fair Game members align themselves with clubs including the Belgian league leaders Union Saint-Gilloise, the Latvian champions RFS, Croatian club Lokomotiva Zagreb, Maccabi Netanya from Israel, CA Osasuna of La Liga, and more than 120 other clubs from 25 countries.
Dennis Gudasic, co-founder of the UEC, said: “The challenges faced by clubs in English football are similar to the challenges faced by clubs across Europe. Our co-operation with Fair Game gives the UEC the opportunity to address these challenges together.
“The UEC believes clubs of all sizes deserve to be heard and fairly represented in the decision-making processes of European football.
“New influences are challenging core values of our game, putting at further risk the sustainability of football’s success as a sport.
“Regulation, proper representation, and balance of power between the clubs are key elements that will strongly influence the future of the game and our ability to build a system where clubs of all sizes can thrive.
'We are determined to improve the European football ecosystem through co-operation and collaboration for the benefits of all levels in the pyramid and counterbalance the influence of the elite clubs in football governance. It is not in dispute that small and medium sized Clubs are the heartbeat of European football and that their sustainability and competitiveness is essential for their communities, culture, youth development and education, values we believe are echoed by Fair Game Clubs and beyond.
“The support of Fair Game is another step forward and we look forward to working together in this direction.”
Fair Game CEO Niall Couper added: “This is a fantastic piece of news. Today, Fair Game has been given the European stamp of approval, and our voice has grown dramatically overnight.
“This partnership is a real shot in the arm for those who want a fairer future for football.
“Football needs a fairer financial flow – one that rewards well-run clubs. Clubs that champion financial sustainability, good governance, equality standards and meaningful fan engagement.
“We would encourage clubs who share that vision to join us and become part of a growing movement.”
The new arrangement will see the two organisations share administrative resources and campaign together, and a representative of Fair Game will be involved in supporting the UEC in their future progress.