FIFA and UEFA didn’t break EU laws by blocking European Super League, but supporters aren’t ready to give up


The decisions by football bodies FIFA and UEFA to block the European Super League (ESL) comply with European Union (EU) competition laws, according to an EU notice published on Thursday.

“The FIFA-UEFA rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with European competition law,” Advocate General Athanasios Rantos told the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

The ESL was created in 2021 by 12 European clubs with the intention of breaking away from European football’s governing body, UEFA, to create their own competition.

But it collapsed within 48 hours of its launch as UEFA pledged to stop the ‘cynical scheme’, world football’s governing body FIFA threatened to kick clubs out of competitions international football and the outrage of supporters across Europe.

The ESL had accused FIFA and UEFA of anti-competitive behavior incompatible with European competition law and had appealed to the commercial court before which it had asked the Court of Justice to rule on the case.

“FIFA welcomes the opinion delivered today by Advocate General Rantos of the European Court of Justice in which he confirms the status and legitimacy of FIFA and UEFA to approve any new football competition” , FIFA said in a statement.

“Similarly, the Advocate General considers that penalties may be imposed on competitions which do not meet the approved authorization criteria. FIFA also welcomes the recognition by the Advocate General of FIFA’s exclusive rights to the marketing of international competitions organized by FIFA.

“Finally, FIFA welcomes the recognition by the Advocate General of the specificity of sport, in particular the pyramid structure, which preserves the character of sporting merit and open competitions accessible to all, as well as the principles of promotion and relegation, d competitive balance, and financial solidarity.

In a statement on Thursday, UEFA said it welcomed the EU’s opinion describing it as “an encouraging step towards preserving the existing dynamic and democratic governance structure of the European football pyramid”. .

“Football in Europe remains united and strongly opposed to the European Super League, or any such break-up proposal, which would threaten the entire European sporting ecosystem,” UEFA added.

Spain’s La Liga, the only league involved in the proceedings, backed the EU’s opinion saying “that the FIFA and UEFA rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with EU competition law”.

“La Liga, together with other European leagues, will continue to fight for the right of European institutions to legislate and provide legal protection to the current model of European football,” said La Liga president Javier Tebas.

The European Club Association (ECA), which represents nearly 250 of Europe’s top football clubs, also welcomed the advice saying it “offers a clear rejection of the efforts of a few to undermine the foundations and historical heritage of European football for the greatest number”.

“The opinion issued today by Advocate General Rantos reinforces ECA’s long-standing opposition to the European Super League and any separatist plans,” ECA added.

A22 Sports Management – a company which was set up to sponsor and help set up the ESL – believes the decision was a step in the right direction as it said UEFA had a “particular responsibility” not to unduly refuse new competitions.

“We are delighted with the recognition of the right of third parties to organize pan-European club competitions,” said A22 CEO Bernd Reichart.

“We believe the 15 Grand Chamber judges who are charged with looking into this case will go much further and give clubs the ability to manage their own destiny in Europe.”

The Court of Justice of the EU is due to issue a final judgment in 2023.

CNN contacted Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, three teams still open to a Super League, for comment and did not immediately respond.


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