• Sunday, March 03, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Big money European Super League gets European Court nod

European Super League

The European Court of Justice, the EU’s biggest court, ruled that football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA breached competition law by attempting to block the breakaway of the Super League.

The Court of Justice said that the governing bodies had abused their dominant position running the sport and that “FIFA and UEFA rules making any new interclub football project subject to their prior approval, such as the Super League, and prohibiting clubs and players from playing in those competitions, is unlawful.”

Twelve of Europe’s biggest clubs have announced plans to break away from the established soccer order and form a new competition, the European Super League.

Twelve clubs comprising six Premier League clubs; Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, LaLiga’s Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid and Serie A’s AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus — signed up as members of the breakaway Super League for its launch on April 18, 2021, in a move that stunned the football world.

The Super League project led by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus’ Andrea Agnelli, was born of frustration at UEFA’s dominant role of running a monopoly of European football and the revenue model for the competition.

Thursday’s European Court of Justice [ECJ] has finally paved the way for the kickoff of the biggest club competition and rival, the Champions League.

“There is no framework for the FIFA and UEFA rules ensuring that they are transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate,” the court said.

“Similarly, the rules giving FIFA and UEFA exclusive control over the commercial exploitation of the rights related to those competitions are such as to restrict competition, given their importance for the media, consumers and television viewers in the European Union.”

The court found that organising football competitions is an economic activity and “therefore must comply with the competition rules and respect the freedom of movement.”

The ruling decision will be a big boost for the Super League project, which seeks to rival UEFA’s Champions League.

“We’ve won the right to compete,” Bernd Reichart, A22 Sports CEO, said. “UEFA’s monopoly is over. Football is free. Now, the clubs won’t suffer threats and punishments. They’re free to decide their own future.”