Aberystwyth Town were delighted to be represented by Club Chairman Donald Kane at the launch of the Union of European Clubs (UEC) held this week in Brussels - with more than 100 clubs from across the Continent in attendance.
With around 60 clubs joining virtually, Town were pleased to be in attendance at the event alongside giants such as Werder Bremen and Sevilla.
The UEC has been in gestation since 2019, but launched this week and will host its first general assembly by the end of the year. It seeks its constituency among Europe’s small and mid-sized clubs that make up the majority of the continent’s 1400 teams on a one member one vote platform.
Upon his return to Ceredigion, Chairman Donald Kane commented:
"Having met Dennis, Katarina, Gareth and William amongst others, I can see that the voice of the lesser teams from all countries in Europe are not being heard.
I feel that with their knowledge and sincerity, we have the chance to at least have a chair at the top table."
The following Press Release has been provided by the UEC to provide more details and recap the launch event:
NEW UNION OF EUROPEAN CLUBS LAUNCHED TO GIVE A VOICE TO 92% OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL CLUBS
Lack of representation of non-elite clubs at institutional level has led to significant erosion in football, benefiting only elite clubs and harming the true heart of football
BRUSSELS, APRIL 24, 2023 – In what is bound to become a historic milestone for European football the Union of European Clubs (UEC) was officially launched today in Brussels.
The UEC is a much-needed initiative to provide a voice to at least 92% of professional football clubs who today go unheard. Europe has more than 1,500 professional football clubs, the vast majority have no international platform nor any representation with key institutions such as UEFA or the European Union.
“The Union of European Clubs fills a massive void and will champion the interests of the clubs that form the foundation of European football,” said the UEC Founder Dennis Gudasic who also serves as Executive Director of Zagreb’s Lokomotiva FC. “It is crucial that small and medium sized clubs gain a voice. Over the past decades football has become increasingly a game of the elite, this trend needs to be reversed or the beautiful game will suffer irreparable harm.”
The UEC was launched at a hybrid event with the physical and online presence of 103 of professional clubs of all sizes from around the continent. Also present were officials from EU institutions, various football stakeholders, and media.
By giving a voice to the true heart of European football the UEC aims to create a fairer and more sustainable football ecosystem. The UEC has many common objectives with UEFA as the central governing body, but also with other stakeholders, such as the European Leagues, which gathers 40 professional football leagues and represents more than 1,000 clubs in 34 countries across Europe.
In addition to Mr Gudasic, one of the UEC Founders, the initiative was presented in Brussels by the UEC General Secretary Dr. Katarina Pijetlovic, Irish football manager and former professional footballer Mr Gareth Farrelly, and Mr William Martucci, format and commercial concept expert, formerly in charge of commercial evaluations for UEFA Club Competitions.
The formal launch event as opened by Mr Margaritas Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission: “Elite clubs keep playing all season at the expense of small clubs who are in fact the pillar of the European Sports Model,” he said. “We commend your objectives as the UEC, and you should also take credit for your contribution to solidarity.” Later he tweeted: “In our European Model of Sport, all Football Clubs need to be heard and treated equally. Size should not matter. Today’s launch of the @clubs_union is a strong commitment to European solidarity and togetherness. Transparency, meritocracy and unity keep European football strong.”
This was followed by an address of a Member of European Parliament, Mr Tomasz Frankowski, who added a strong support for the initiative by pointing out that “[w]hat is most important, is that the ecosystem of the European football pyramid functions in the interest of all stakeholders, not one particular group […] It is important that [inadequately and unrepresented represented] clubs are able to speak up. Other stakeholders must listen to their concerns and find a way forward together. Indeed, from my interactions with football stakeholders, I know that the forums to listen to the UEC exist and the avenues to make sure you all work together in unity are there.”
The two EU officials echoed the sentiments of the EU sports policy that strongly supports unity, representativeness and inclusiveness in the governance of football.
Clubs present at the event underscored the need for the UEC initiative at the discussion panel composed of Mr Gudasic, and the representatives from Union Saint-Gilloise FC and Crystal Palace FC.
Mr Alex Muzio, the president of the Brussels-based Royale Union Saint-Gilloise FC hosted the first UEC gathering with clubs prior to the formal meeting, pointed out that “ECA is dominated by bigger teams and the voice of clubs like his is not really there.”
Mr Steve Parish, the chairman of Crystal Palace was unequivocal that “there is a lack of representation” and “all concepts of fairness are going out the window” in today’s football environment.
The event concluded with the speech of Javier Tebas, the president of Spanish LaLiga, voicing a strong support for the UEC emphasizing support for all clubs. “The new Union of European Clubs can help solve an important problem in football governance by truly representing clubs,” he said.
The full agenda of the event can be found here, and the recording of the event can be accessed here.
For media enquiries and further information, please visit ueceurope.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Salvatore Corbisiero's family have asked us to communicate details of his funeral, and to invite friends and Club supporters to attend.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday 2nd May, at 11am, at Welsh Martyrs Catholic Church, Penparcau, Aberystwyth, SY23 1RX.
The funeral will be followed by a reception at Penrhyncoch Football Club, SY23 3EH and all are welcome to attend.
Once again the Club extends its sincere condolences to Antonio and his family follwing their sad bereavement.
On a rollercoaster ride of a day on Saturday, in front of 1120 people, Aber Town were eight minutes from relegation, but played themselves to safety by the end amid ecstatic scenes at Park Avenue. Here we take you through the swings and roundabouts of an unforgettable day.
Before Kick off Aber and Flint are both on 35 points, but Flint’s superior goal difference means the Black and Greens must better Flint’s result to retain their place in the JD Cymru Prem.
12.45pm Kick off at Park Avenue
12.46pm Caernarfon’s Rob Hughes scores from a breakaway to put Aber in trouble
12.47pm Kick off at USW Park, Pontypridd
12.55pm Okera Simmons scores for Flint at Ponty, which leaves Aber now needing a three goal swing to achieve safety. Despite the pressure, Aber keep going and create chance after chance.
1.13pm Onetime Black and Green Owain Jones equalises for Ponty. Hope springs again.
1.24pm Harry Arnison equalises for Town with a deft header (see photo, above) and with both teams level Aber are just one goal away from safety.
1.30pm Disaster strikes. Laurie Bell sneaks in at the near post to put the Cofis back in front and Aber back down in the dumps.
1.32pm Half time at Aber
1.34pm Half time at Ponty
1.47pm Both matches restart
1.57pm Mark Cadwallader’s equaliser means once again Aber are one goal from safety. The mood lightens!
2.09pm Rhys Kavanagh puts Flint back ahead to restore the two goal cushion. Aber in big trouble now and staring into the abyss.
2.20pm Rumours start spreading about a goal in Glamorgan. Yes – Tom Davies equalises for Ponty. Game On!
2.23pm A group of young Aber supporters behind the Caernarfon goal start celebrating for no apparent reason (see photo below). What have they heard? Word spreads and the Cymru Football app confirms Ben Ah-Mun has put Ponty ahead! As things stand Aber are staying up – but they need another to make sure.
2.36pm Three minutes in to a nerve wracking injury time Sam Lichfield surges down the right, plays a nonchalant one two with Johnnie Evans before setting up Niall Flint for a diving header at the back post. Delirium as Aber know they are surely safe now!
2.37pm Full time at Ponty.
2.38pm Full time at Aber. Safety confirmed and time to celebrate!
What a day! Thank you for sharing it with us.
Photos courtesy of RB Photography
Aber Heroics Guarantee Safety in the Most Dramatic Style Possible: Aberystwyth Town 3 Caernarfon Town 2 Match Report
JD Cymru Premier
Saturday 22nd April
Aberystwyth Town 3 Caernarfon Town 2
The biggest Cymru Premier crowd of the entire season watched the Black and Greens conjour up an unforgettable great escape at home to Caernarfon Town yesterday afternoon. In the definition of a must win game Aber fell behind to Rob Hughes’ second minute opener, although Harry Arnison equalised six minutes before the break. When Laurie Bell put the visitors back in front just before half time things looked bleak, but Mark Cadwallader equalised on 55 minutes, and Niall Flint’s incredible 94th minute winner caused utter bedlam and delight and secured the Black and Greens’ place at the top table for 2023/24.
The high stakes game, and Aber’s recent last minute heroics in a series of key Play Off Conference matches caught the Ceredigion public’s imagination, and 1120 people turned up on a balmy April day for Park Avenue’s biggest crowd for seven years. Aber started well with an early corner but were then caught on the break when the hosts broke and Darren Thomas picked out Rob Hughes down the right, who slotted past Matt Turner in the goal for a devastating early blow. Town had not won a game from behind all season but that did not deter them and they went on to give a brilliant performance going forward. Alex Darlington crossed for Iwan Lewis to sidefoot just wide, then Flint fired just over. Arnison had a shot blocked for a corner, Darlington had a header deflected for another corner, and Sam Litchfield headed Flint’s corner just wide. Apart from a Darren Thomas effort over the bar it was all Aber, and Cadwallader was next to have an effort blocked before Thomas at the other end brought a brilliant save out of Turner in the home goal, who tipped over the bar. Aber survived a penalty shout but then Jack Thorn saw a header saved by Ryan Woods in the goal and at the other end Hughes tested Turner again. Litchfield saw another header cleared off the line, Cadwallader had an effort blocked and Flint was denied by Woods: but the pressure finally worked when Arnison followed up a blocked first shot to head home a well deserved equaliser from the edge of the area, to delight the huge home crowd. However just before the break Bell nodded home a near post header from Ron Hughes, and the Cofis were back in charge. Another Aber corner caused more mayhem in Caernarfon’s box with an attempt cleared off the line, and Darlington’s effort flashed wide so that despite a really positive performance Anthony Williams’ men were behind at half time and staring into the abyss.
The visitors started the second half on top and Joe Faux had low shot saved, but Cadwallader then found Darlington whose deft lob was just tipped over by Woods. Then came a huge moment as Darren Thomas surged straight through and rounded Turner, but then somehow and as if from nowhere Iwan Lewis made a miraculous game saving challenge to block what would have been a killer third from the Cofi Messi. Flint spooned a chance over from close range, and then brought a point blank save from the keeper but Aber were not to be denied and following a melee in Caernarfon’s box and a crossbar rattling effort Cadwallader kept a cool head to nod home a huge equaliser, his fifth in Black and Green since joining in January. Caernarfon stayed honest and Dan Gossett had a shot saved by Turner before Noah Edwards was denied. With Aber desperate for a winner the indefatigable Flint saw a cross shot saved, and Darlington headed over the bar with twenty to go – to show that if Aber were going down, they were doing so fighting. Flint had yet another low shot saved, then sub Steff Davies had a header blocked for a corner. Sion Bradley crossed for Bell to glance a header just wide at the other end, and Faux curled an effort inches wide - then on 82 minutes came the prayed for news through that Pontypridd had taken the lead, and Aber were finally out of the bottom two. An incredibly tense ending ensued with the Seasiders knowing that one more goal would probably guarantee safety – Sub Johnnie Evans’ cross was gathered by Woods, and Cadwallader headed wide, but then three minutes into four added, Litchfield went on a swashbuckling run down the right, played a deft one two with Evans and crossed for Flint to score with an amazing diving header at the back post – and Park Avenue could celebrate safety! Two minutes later the ref’s whistle confirmed the news that Aber were staying up, amid truly extraordinary scenes of delight and joy on the Ceredigion Coast.
What A Club! This final day escape will be remembered for years to come and Anthony Williams’ players deserve the highest credit for the resilience, determination and sheer will power they have displayed to bring the Black and Greens to 38 points. The celebrations at the end showed a community and its club as one and give Aberystwyth Town Football Club a real opportunity to build for a positive season next time round – back in the Cymru Premier. And what song was playing at the end? Of course: Yma O Hyd! Thank you Green Army for all your wonderful support this season: we can’t wait for 2023/24.
Fantastic photos courtesy of Rhys Barron Photography