European Super League dealt hammer blow as court backs UEFA & FIFA to have sole decision making on future competitions

European Super League dealt hammer blow as court backs UEFA & FIFA to have sole decision making on future competitions

The European Court of Justice ruled that the current rules applied by FIFA and UEFA are compatible with EU competition law

Joshua GeorgeUpdated: Thursday, December 15, 2022, 09:28 PM IST
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The European Court of Justice handed a significant blow to the prospect of the rebel European Super League being created, with a judge ruling that the current rules applied by FIFA and UEFA are compatible with EU competition law.

ECJ's advocate general Athanasios Rantos provided his initial judgment on the case and stated that the governing bodies are within the legal framework.

In an initial statement the court said: “The FIFA-UEFA rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with EU competition law."

A 50-page document is expected to be released later today outlining the ruling in greater detail.

A full ECJ judgment will arrive in 2023, expanding on today's ruling. The case will then be referred back to the Madrid court, who in the vast majority of cases will proceed with the ruling recommended- even if today’s judgment is framed as non-binding guidance.

While clubs would still be free to establish a rival competition, this landmark ruling would effectively give UEFA the power to expel them from their structure.

Minutes after the judgment was made public, UEFA released a statement saying: "UEFA welcomes today’s unequivocal Opinion of Advocate General Rantos, which is an encouraging step towards preserving the existing dynamic and democratic governance structure of the European football pyramid."

"The Opinion reinforces the central role of federations in protecting the sport, upholding fundamental principles of sporting merit and open access across our members, as well as uniting football with shared responsibility and solidarity."

"Football in Europe remains united and steadfastly opposed to the ESL, or any such breakaway proposals, which would threaten the entire European sports ecosystem."

Where does the European Super League Stand

The European Super League Company - now effectively comprising only of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus filed a complaint in Madrid’s commercial court where they argued that the governing bodies had created a cartel that shut down attempts for alternative competitions to be established.

The Madrid court referred the case to the ECJ, the highest possible seat that deals with matters of European competition law, and a hearing was held in Luxembourg in July.

The Super League lawyers argued that the governing body in this case FIFA and UEFA have the sole monopoly in terms of decision making on organising competitions. The governing bodies are also permitted to threaten sanctions on any player who participates in a rival competition, such as the proposed Super League.

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