UEFA has stated that it has received the support of over half of the member states of the European Union in opposing the breakaway European Super League tournament.
Announced in April 2021, the project was to carry out a break away from the Champions League and run its own 20-team competition, but this soon collapsed and EU member states now want to protect the ‘European Sports Model’, which gives soccer its exemptions from competition laws.
Of 27 EU members, 16 filed written submissions against the league to the court in Luxembourg, which has been asked by a judge in Madrid to examine if UEFA and FIFA have a ‘monopoly control’ of the sport.
Spain and Italy – the home countries to the three remaining ESL teams; Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – are two of the 16 countries involved, according to UEFA.
Germany is also expected to voice its opposition to the breakaway league, with no German clubs joining the initial project back in April, meaning the league would not include multiple-time Champions League winners Bayern Munich or regular contenders Borussia Dortmund.
The Independent claimed that in a ruling that could take several more months, the European court is expected to hold a public hearing towards the beginning of next year.
The remaining Super League members filed legal suits in a Madrid commercial court against football’s governing bodies. The clubs object to the three-fold role of UEFA and FIFA as regulators of football, commercial operators with their own competitions and gatekeepers with authority to ‘limit rivals’.
The proposed project ended rapidly when the six English clubs involved – Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur – withdrew following the backlash from fans and politicians, but the two Spanish teams and one Italian side continue to fight a legal battle to resurrect the short-lived competition
Sources suggest that the judge in Madrid has asked the European court in Luxembourg to examine the football bodies’ authority over organising competitions and their right to sanction challengers to that authority.
Furthermore, in May this year, UEFA also announced settlement agreements with the nine Super League members who withdrew which saw the teams pay millions of dollars in fines, forfeit future prize money and the implementation of financial penalties for taking part in any similar project.
After voiding those settlements last month for the ongoing case, the organisation states that ‘disciplinary action could be revived after the judgement’.