European Super League dealt major blow as EU advocate general backs UEFA and FIFA

By Sports Desk December 15, 2022

UEFA and FIFA would be entitled to freeze out a European Super League and its competing teams, according to a key opinion published on Thursday by the European Union's Court of Justice.

A calamitous launching of the Super League last year saw 12 teams agree to take part, before most pulled out in a hurry after a furious backlash from fans, politicians and football governing bodies.

The Spanish league has since said it is determined to fend off a new proposition for an elite league, which it has warned would "destroy" the existing structure of the domestic game.

It was revealed in October 2022 that a move was under way to revive the proposals, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus still thought to be keen; however, there remains firm opposition from UEFA, which runs European football, and world governing body FIFA.

The advocate general of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), Athanasios Rantos, was responding to a request by the Commercial Court in Madrid to rule on whether FIFA and UEFA would have the right to take action in accordance with competition law and fundamental freedoms.

European Super League (ESLC) chiefs argued such actions should be regarded as anti-competitive and incompatible with EU competition law.

Rantos said in his opinion, which is not binding and will be followed by a court judgement expected in the new year, that: "Whilst ESLC is free to set up its own independent football competition outside the UEFA and FIFA ecosystem, it cannot however, in parallel with the creation of such a competition, continue to participate in the football competitions organised by FIFA and UEFA without the prior authorisation of those federations."

FIFA and UEFA had warned that players and clubs taking part in the breakaway league would be banned from their own competitions.

Six clubs from the Premier League and three each from LaLiga and Serie A initially agreed to join the European Super League, prior to public reaction leading to a rethink.

The opinion from Rantos noted that national federations and leagues would be able to threaten sanctions against clubs entering competitions "which would risk undermining the objectives legitimately pursued by those federations of which they are members".

UEFA said in response: "UEFA warmly welcomes today's unequivocal opinion recommending a ruling of the CJEU in support of our central mission to govern European football, protect the pyramid and develop the game across Europe."

It described the opinion as "an encouraging step towards preserving the existing dynamic and democratic governance structure of the European football pyramid".

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

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    County’s 3-2 cinch Premiership victory on Sunday was the Dingwall club’s first win over Rangers in 25 attempts and dented the Light Blues’ title hopes.

    Rangers are four points behind Celtic, with their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park getting the green light to go ahead after two previous postponements due to an unplayable pitch.

    Clement’s side have won just two in seven and taken four points from their last 12 but the Belgian was keen to isolate the County display as the first of its kind with deficiencies in structure, organisation and basics since he took over in October and insists such days happen at every club, including all-conquering Manchester City.

    “They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing,” said Clement, who revealed left-back Ridvan Yilmaz remains out along with midfielder Mohamed Diomande, while defender Leon Balogun is a doubt with illness.

    “I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better.

    “It was an off-day.

    “It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

    “I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments.

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    “But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

    “Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

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    Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

    He said: “People who decided to play at Dens Park are sure that there will be a game tomorrow and that is a very positive thing.

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    He said: “I am not going to say don’t feel this to my players when they feel this, but I have a different opinion. We are far away from those hypothetical dreams.

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    “I’d like to congratulate the TTFA members. I think they were very professional coming out in their numbers, 100% attendance. The normalisation process is completed," Hadad said, adding that debtors had been paid, with the exception of disputed matters involving Englishmen Terry Fenwick and Peter Miller, which are before the local courts.

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