Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-250"

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"Mr President, as is customary, though this time it is well-deserved, I would like to begin by thanking the rapporteur, Mr Belet, for his ability to hold dialogue with all of the groups and all of the Members. He himself reminded us at the beginning of this debate that we must not lose sight of the fact that this is a report on professional football, thereby adding a component that I believe to be crucial; I would also like to stress that we are dealing with an own-initiative report. That is to say that this is the first time that the European Parliament has focussed on football, sending out the message that it takes an interest in the phenomenon of football. That means that we must make our principal causes for concern very clear. When it comes to professional football, we must essentially discuss professional football clubs and spectators. Without those two elements, the problem that we wish to tackle would not exist. I therefore entirely agree with Mr Heaton-Harris’s final comment: there is no place for any speculation that does not take account of the crucial role of the actual football clubs. If we send spectators the message, ‘Look, the European Parliament wants to meddle in the world of football in order to make the spectacle of football less spectacular’; if we are going to say to the big clubs, the ones that have real customers, real social demand, ‘Look, for the sake of the principle of solidarity, your income is going to be restricted, you are not going to be able to sign up the big players and you are not going to be able to have those structures. We are going to make football less spectacular’, I can assure you, ladies and gentleman, that football fans – and there are many of us sitting here – will be astounded. They would say to us, ‘so you are concerned about football and you are sending out the message that you are going to make the spectacle less attractive by working against the big football clubs’. That is absurd. I would therefore ask, ladies and gentlemen, that we take that very much into account when it comes to dealing properly with the audiovisual rights of football clubs."@en1

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