UEFA chief of women's football comes out against Women's Super League
She referred to the announcement of the Women's Super League as a "side comment"
Nadine Kessler, the UEFA chief of women's football, has written an open letter detailing her opposition to the creation of a Super League by 12 of Europe's richest football clubs.
In a letter posted from her Twitter account and published on UEFA's website, Kessler called on the football community to "show solidarity" in the face of the plans, which have been accused of being born out of greed and of being anti-competitive in nature.
As part of the statement from the 'founding clubs' of the Super League, a solitary line was devoted to the concept of a corresponding women's competition.
The line read: "As soon as practicable after the start of the men’s competition, a corresponding women’s league will also be launched, helping to advance and develop the women’s game."
However Kessler has described the new tournament's proposals to create a women's Super League as "devastating for all national leagues."
In the letter, Kessler writes that a women's Super League would be a "direct threat to all the plans we have carefully crafted, together with the ECA, your clubs and the leagues, for a new UEFA Women's Champions League (UWCL)."
Kessler says that the new UWCL will "provide visibility, more competition, financial reward, and solidarity, all with the aim of bringing about a new era for the whole of women's football."
In particular it is the lack of competition and closed-shop nature of a super league that Kessler objects to. She writes that clubs "need to be able to have the ambition of being part of the top of European women's club football, the UEFA Women's Champions League. With a closed European Women's Super League, this is not possible."
So if you thought that the one granule of redemption and value in the Super League might be that it would help grow the women's game, think again. This is not the way to help develop any aspect of football.
Read Nadine Kessler's letter in full below:
Dear players, dear women's football champions,
I am sure you have all read about the creation of a closed European Super League with certain top men's clubs involved and 15 clubs directly seeded (and can never be relegated regardless of performance).
You may have also read, as a side comment in the same press release, that this should be replicated in the form of a Women's European Super League, after the men's version would supposedly be established.
This news comes without any consultation and at the time where the UEFA Women's Champions League is about to see a transformative change as of next summer. In other words, it is a direct threat to all the plans we have carefully crafted, together with the ECA, your clubs and the leagues, for new UEFA Women's Champions League.
A new UWCL that will provide visibility, more competition, financial reward, and solidarity, all with the aim of bringing about a new era for the whole of women's football. A competition that will be open and therefore allows for clubs and players from all over Europe to continue the dream of winning the most prestigious club trophy in the world.
Why does this impact the women's game?
Women's football, its professionalisation and development are still in the early stages. Only a small proportion of players unfortunately have full-time professions and guaranteed access to top class facilities. Whilst there have been momentous strides in the game, we need more clubs, federations and governing bodies investing to provide professional structures for more players benefit from.
And we do not only need more clubs, but a better balance between those clubs, so that more than just a few standout players can thrive on it. These clubs need to be able to have the ambition of being part of the top of European women's club football, the UEFA Women's Champions League. With a closed European Women's Super League, this is not possible. Of course, such development would be equally devastating for all the national leagues, who have made enormous efforts to professionalise the women's game.
All the great steps made in recent years, including the hardship of many players gone before, for our game to become a profession across Europe, will have less of a chance of becoming a reality.
As a former player, as somebody who played, lives, works and breathes for this sport, as somebody who believes in the importance of rivalry with underdogs beating favourites and open competition systems based on sporting merit and allowing for everyone to make it to the top and, therefore believes that the BEST will always win and that the loser will be relegated and try again next season.
As somebody who has benefited from the power of solidarity through my own experience and who firmly believes that the power of football lies in its unpredictability, I encourage you to make up your mind about this and take a position, as other players have started to do so.
We always talk about stronger ties between men's and women's football, about increased solidarity - now it's the time to show solidarity. This current entire football ecosystem funds everything from grassroots to elite, including women's football - vital funding streams, that these parts of the game, our game, depend on.
Please take some time to read into the details of this debate and why the football pyramid with its principles of solidarity have made our sport the most successful in the world.
No matter how you make up your mind, your opinion as a player, as a women's football champion matters, women's football's opinion matters. The values of our sport matter in times when greed seems to overshadow the broader needs of society and football as a whole. Because solidarity matters!