On Monday, a Spanish judge ordered FIFA and UEFA to stop opposing the European Super League (ESL), ruling that their actions were an abuse of position and anti-competitive.

Judge Sofia Gil Garcia ruled that FIFA and UEFA violated European Union law by banning clubs from joining a proposed new professional soccer championship, according to a court statement.

Additionally, the judge ruled that FIFA and UEFA should immediately reverse any anti-competitive actions committed in the past.

A22 Sports Management, the company behind the ESL plan, filed the case against the Spanish Soccer Federation, LaLiga, UEFA and FIFA for blocking the ESL.

Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22, stated: “We welcome the ruling of the Madrid Court. It’s an important step towards a truly competitive and sustainable club football landscape in Europe.”

The ESL concept, proposed by 12 of Europe’s top clubs, surfaced in 2021. The clubs envisioned a 20-team elite tournament, in which 15 clubs would be immune from relegation. However, following the public announcement, the clubs encountered significant protests from supporters opposing the competition.

Since then, there has been a constant battle from both sides. UEFA and FIFA have been at the forefront of the argument, with the proposed competition threatening the organisations’ grip on the game. 

Concerned about the growing momentum of the ESL in 2021, FIFA warned players that they would be banned from participating in future World Cups and other FIFA-sanctioned international tournaments if they joined the ESL.

Reichart added: “For too long UEFA has been allowed to control and dominate club football at European level. UEFA’s statutes and the aggressive actions taken to protect its monopoly have stifled innovation for decades and clubs should not have to fear threats of sanctions simply for having ideas and conversations.”

Responding to the ruling, La Liga issued a statement insisting that the decision does not explicitly support the creation of the Super League.

The court stated: “We are facing a regulatory conflict that affects the organisational model of football; it will be up to the participants to modify and adapt it subsequently. This does not mean that the authorization of any competition is the subject of this procedure; but rather the foundations for channelling a system of free competition in the organisation of football competitions.” 

Despite this, A22 Sports Management has taken this decision as victory, describing the “era of monopoly” as “definitively over”.

Reichart concluded: “We look forward to continuing our dialogue with clubs of all sizes to improve club football at international level to make it more accessible and compelling for fans of all ages.”

Last year, the European Court of Justice made a similar ruling, which labelled UEFA’s stance on the ESL as anti-competitive under EU law. 

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