UEFA and FIFA warned to halt Super League opposition by Spanish court

By Sports Desk May 27, 2024

FIFA and UEFA have been told to stop their opposition against the European Super League (ESL), with a Spanish court ruling warning of anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of a dominant position.

Madrid's commercial court said on Monday the European and world governing bodies violated competition law by banning and punishing clubs from participating in a proposed new tournament.

FIFA and UEFA were told to reverse any anticompetitive actions committed in the past after A22 Sports Management, the company behind the plan to create the ESL, brought the case to Spanish court.

"It's an important step towards a truly competitive and sustainable club football landscape in Europe," A22 CEO Bernd Reichart said in a statement after the ruling. 

"For too long UEFA has been allowed to control and dominate club football at European level."

Reichart added that UEFA's position on the ESL has "stifled innovation for decades", though celebrated "the era of the monopoly [as] definitively over". 

The case was also brought against LaLiga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), though that pair and UEFA insisted the court ruling did not explicitly support the creation of the Super League.

"The court has not given the green light to, nor has it approved, projects like the Super League," UEFA said in a follow-up statement. 

"In fact, the judge has asserted that the Super League project has long been abandoned and that she cannot be expected to rule on any abstract projects.

"In short, the judgment does not give third parties the right to develop competitions without authorisation and does not concern any future project or indeed any modified version of an existing project."

English football's so-called 'big six' – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – were founding members of the original Super League project in April 2021.

Yet those Premier League clubs quickly withdrew amid fan protests and pressure from the football authorities, with Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid following a similar suit.

UEFA has since changed its rules around new competitions following the collapse of the ESL proposal in April 2021 and the court says those new rules are unaffected by Monday's ruling.

"The court also confirmed that the current version of UEFA's authorisation rules [as adopted in June 2022] is not affected by today's ruling," the European governing body added.

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