Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Landmark ruling announced in dispute over Super League

There was a lot of excitement when twelve European clubs wanted to establish the Super League – and a lot of opposition to it, which quickly led to the idea’s quick demise. Nevertheless, there is a legal repercussion, and a verdict will be reached shortly before Christmas.

The original Super League, which twelve top European clubs announced in April 2021, will not come, that can already be said with justification – the resistance from fans and leagues was too great. Nine clubs quickly abandoned the idea, but Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Juventus Turin did not – UEFA then threatened the trio with sanctions.

It’s also not impossible that an alternative version of the league might still come about, but legal issues would still have to be clarified. Perhaps the most urgent of these is that UEFA, as the competition regulator, has so far banned the new competition – is it allowed to do so? Has a monopoly position been abused?

The European Super League Company filed a lawsuit against UEFA and FIFA in Spain in the summer, and the competent court in Madrid appealed to the ECJ. The latter must now clarify whether FIFA and UEFA “act as a cartel and abuse their dominant position on the market for the organization of international competitions for soccer clubs in Europe and on the market for the commercialization of the rights attached to such competitions. “

“European club soccer is facing a major upheaval. We hope that the European Court of Justice will end UEFA’s monopoly and enforce the fundamental freedoms of the European Union in the world of soccer. Fans, clubs, players and the sport of soccer would be the winners in a market that is open to a competition of ideas and where clubs could organize and host a European soccer competition without fear of threats,” said Bernd Reichart, who is the head of sports project developer A22 and is pushing the Super League plans. A22 is a co-plaintiff in the ESL case.

Appraisal supports UEFA’s position

Reichart’s opinion is not shared by everyone, however, and an opinion from the European Court of Justice had already strengthened the position of UEFA and FIFA. That concluded that clubs would be free to launch the Super League, but could not then be expected to compete in parallel in FIFA and UEFA competitions, such as the Champions League, without their permission.

Shortly before Christmas, there is now to be the landmark ruling in the dispute. As the ECJ confirmed to dpa on request, the decision is to be announced on December 21 at 9:30 am. The ECJ’s ruling will be binding, but the action will ultimately be decided by the court in Madrid, which in turn will have to take into account the ECJ’s answers.

Either way, soccer will change. Because a fundamental reform of the Champions League has already been decided – and it will bring major changes.

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