Believe that SuperM will be successful
Interview with Endemann: "The real fight is only just beginning"
Mr. Endemann, was the preliminary end of the Super League plans also a victory for the fans?
It was a stage win, but the real fight is only now beginning. Failure was the crash that football needed, now the big momentum is there to achieve change. For a long time, the rejection of the Champions League reform was almost exclusively a matter of the organized fans; the general public was not interested. Now the clubs and associations have waved it through without much argument. The other attempt to allow the big clubs to make more and more compromises has now flown into their ears with the Super League. The unified voice of the fans helped that the idea collapsed.
Do you think the club owners were surprised by the force of the feedback?
Yes, especially about how much your own fan scenes opposed it. They expected to get by and that shows how far removed they are from reality. People like Andrea Agnelli and Florentino Perez are egomaniacs who only surround themselves with saliva and are not used to resistance.
What did the protests look like in the individual countries? Is it misleading that there was resistance, especially in England?
In Spain, fan groups from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have called for a members' referendum - this has never happened before. The problem in Italy is that there is no national fan organization and therefore no common voice. But the Curva Sud from Milan, for example, has openly opposed this with a statement. In England, for example, during the game between Leeds and Liverpool there were joint protests by fan groups in front of the stadium, including before the game in Chelsea. In England, the corona situation is such that it was reasonably possible. English football fans are often accused of being uncritical and that sporting success whitewashes a lot for them. But there the debate about ownership has been rekindled with a view to Germany.
The clubs have damaged each other in their 'brand core' incredibly.
The relationship and trust of the fans in their clubs are likely to be at an all-time low, right?
Naturally. Even a fan who goes to Liverpool matches doesn't just want to see matches against Milan and Madrid. It was clearly underestimated what this rejection means for the clubs. The clubs have done an incredible amount of damage to their "brand core", and the sponsors will also be anything but happy. The relationship between the fans and the owners has certainly been permanently damaged.
What role did the fans in Germany play in preventing Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund from taking part in the Super League?
A huge. I am sure that offers were on the table or would have come and that the clubs talked very intensively internally about how they should act. The German clubs also knew that they would have completely imploded participation. It was extremely important that tough headwinds immediately came from the respective fan scenes.
The Champions League reform must be withdrawn.
An extremely bitter aftertaste remains, the Champions League reform has been decided. Do you think that such a massive resistance will form against it now?
I hope so, that's what we're working on with our member organizations. That mustn't last. The wild cards, the number of games - this whole reform must be rejected. We will fight to ensure that it does not take place like this and that there is a restart with the participation of the fans during the conception. We are also very disappointed with our national representatives on the Executive Committee. In internal discussions with clubs and associations, we were always told that compromises had to be made in order to avert the danger of the Super League. When this did happen, the reform was done anyway agreed.
Is this new public discourse with players, coaches and fans on the same page also an opportunity to rethink and attack the whole construct of professional football as organized supporters have long been calling for?
A huge one, in fact, that became clear. You have to take this momentum with you and all the actors who have just made great speeches. We always try to work with the players' alliance FIFPro anyway, in many fights we are on the same side. The players were also betrayed here.
What is the next step for the FSE?
We will advise and with our European members what the next steps on our part will look like. It is clear that the Champions League reform must be withdrawn and a new model for European football must be found with the participation of all stakeholders, including the fans. And the EU and governments must see whether football is regulated differently, because it has been shown again that it cannot do it itself.
Interview: Patrick Kleinmann
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