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21st Dec 2023

European Union Court Of Justice rules in favour of Super League

Callum Boyle

They claim that FIFA and UEFA acted unlawfully

The European Court of Justice has ruled that UEFA and FIFA acted against competition law by blocking the formation of the European Super League in 2021.

The failed project sparked mass protests from fans of clubs around the world, as well as government institutions.

All six Premier League clubs – Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal – backed out as a result of the backlash from their own supporters.

A statement from the ECJ said: “The FIFA and UEFA rules on prior approval of interclub football competitions, such as the Super League, are contrary to EU law.

“There is no framework for the FIFA and UEFA rules ensuring that they are transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate.

“Similarly, the rules giving FIFA and UEFA exclusive control over the commercial exploitation of the rights related to those competitions are such as to restrict competition, given their importance for the media, consumers and television viewers in the European Union.

“The court observes that the organisation of interclub football competitions and the exploitation of the media rights are, quite evidently, economic activities.

“They must therefore comply with the competition rules and respect the freedoms of movement, even though the economic pursuit of sport has certain specific characteristics, such as the existence of associations having certain regulatory and control powers and the power to impose sanctions.

“The court also observes that, in parallel with those powers, FIFA and UEFA themselves organise football competitions.”

UEFA responded with their own statement, saying: “This ruling does not signify an endorsement or validation of the so-called ‘super league’; it rather underscores a pre-existing shortfall within UEFA’s pre-authorisation framework, a technical aspect that has already been acknowledged and addressed in June 2022.

“UEFA is confident in the robustness of its new rules, and specifically that they comply with all relevant European laws and regulations.

“UEFA remains resolute in its commitment to uphold the European football pyramid, ensuring that it continues to serve the broader interests of society. We will continue to shape the European sports model collectively with national associations, leagues, clubs, fans, players, coaches, EU institutions, governments and partners alike.

“We trust that the solidarity-based European football pyramid that the fans and all stakeholders have declared as their irreplaceable model will be safeguarded against the threat of breakaways by European and national laws.”

Clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have continued to push for the idea of a European Super League and Barça have already confirmed their intentions to “open a dialogue” on resurfacing the idea.

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