Spanish court rules in favour of the European Super League
FIFA and UEFA have been described as “trying to sustain a monopoly” and “abusing their positions of dominance” against the European Super League.
Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez rejoice! The European Super League (ESL) is back on the table…or is it? A Spanish court ruled on Tuesday that FIFA and UEFA have no grounds to prevent the sport’s top clubs from forming a European Super League and judges in Madrid were fiercely critical of the behaviour of world soccer’s governing body and its European counterpart, who it claimed were “trying to sustain a monopoly” and “abusing their positions of dominance”.
What did a Spanish court say about FIFA and UEFA’s “monopolising””?
The judges gave a lengthy explanation as to why they had reached their decision, which can be summarised as follows:
“FIFA and UEFA cannot justify their anti-competitive behaviour as if they were the sole custodians of certain European values, especially if this is to serve as an excuse to sustain a monopoly from which they can exclude or hinder the initiative of their would-be competitor, the European Super League.”
“In view of the available evidence, it does not appear that the defendants’ conduct can be justified as a protection of the general interests of European football, but what we see is behaviour which has all the characteristics of an unjustifiable abuse by people in a position of dominance”.
The ruling also prevents both FIFA and UEFA from threatening or taking any kind of disciplinary action against clubs, club officials and players who were involved or may be involved in the formation of the ESL.
Which clubs originally signed up for the European Super League?
In April 2021, 12 clubs announced that they had signed up for the European Super League: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Milan, Inter and Juventus. Within a matter of days, only three – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – remained, with the five English clubs first to pull out after being put under pressure from players, fans and the vast majority of their stakeholders. The two Milan clubs and Atlético Madrid swiftly followed and the ESL was dead in the water before it had even begun to float, much to Florentino’s disappointment.
What obstacles are there to forming the European Super League?
FIFA and UEFA threatened to prevent players participating in the ESL from playing in competitions they organise, which includes the World Cup, the European Championships and all European club competitions. Tuesday’s ruling in Madrid means that they can no longer do so but there are still plenty of obstacles in the way if the ESL is to ever get up and running.
Those clubs who turned their back on the venture now know that they would risk further uproar from their stakeholders if they were to perform a second U-turn, while the Spanish court doesn’t have the final say in terms of the legality of the matter. The final ruling will be made at the European Union’s top court in Luxembourg, who, in a preliminary ruling in December, judged that the ESL is free to set up their own competition but that participating teams couldn’t also compete in FIFA and UEFA competitions unless they were authorised, which clearly won’t happen.
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