ESL: European court rules against UEFA and FIFA, paving way for formation of European Super League

The prospect of a European Super League was on Thursday December 21, boosted after judges ruled that UEFA and FIFA rules banning breakaway competitions were pushed as contrary to EU law.

A ruling by the European Court of Justice [ECJ] said that UEFA acted illegally and were “abusing a dominant position” by blocking the formation of the European Super League in 2021.

The court said such rules were “contrary to competition law and the freedom to provide services”, given UEFA create and regulate their own competitions and commercial rights.

The ECJ said its judgement “does not mean that a competition such as the Super League project must necessarily be approved”, but it appears to have given the green light to any such competition being relaunched in the future.

UEFA threatened to sanction clubs who planned to join the original Super League after 12 clubs, including Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, announced the formation of the breakaway competition in April 2021.

European Super League: European court rules against UEFA and FIFA, paving way for formation of European Super League

Only Real Madrid and Barcelona are still publicly backing the project after the six English clubs, Atletico Madrid and the two Milan teams, AC and Inter, swiftly pulled out after a backlash from fans, players, coaches, domestic leagues,governing bodies and even national governments. Juventus finally withdrew after the resignation of Andrea Agnelli as chairman in July.

But Barcelona president Joan Laporta said in January that he believes a Super League will be launched in 2025 and its supporters insist many clubs still back the idea.

Today’s ruling is binding and not subject to appeal. Backers of the Super League will view the judgement as a significant victory, opening the door to a fresh push for a future breakaway.

Following the ruling, A22, the European commercial sports development company behind the project, proposed new midweek 32-club men’s and women’s competitions, with promotion and relegation and no permanent members. It claims the new competition “will not interfere with domestic league calendars” and matches will be free to watch.

Bernd Reichart, A22 Sports Management chief executive, said: “We have won the right to compete. The UEFA monopoly is over. Football is free. The clubs no longer have to fear sanctions and can now determine their own future.”

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez declared the judgement a “great day for the history of football”, saying: “Today we once again have the duty and responsibility to give European football the new impetus it so badly needs.”

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