A full verdict is expected in Spring 2023, but the early signs indicate that UEFA and FIFA are well within their rights to penalize clubs and players for participating in a breakaway league.
Talks about a resurrection of the European Super League – which collapsed after only two days in April 2021, had began to resurface. However, the European Court of Justice had made a positive ruling on Thursday in favour of UEFA and FIFA.
Nine of the original 12 teams pulled out of the European Super League in April 2021 after serious backlash from fans, players and stakeholders. The only three teams not to pull out are La Liga duo of Real Madrid and Barcelona, alongside Italian side Juventus.
All six Premier League teams who were originally part of the European Super League (Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal), alongside AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid withdrew from the competition.
A22 Sports Management, the body formed to assist with the creation of the breakaway league argued that UEFA and FIFA abused their position under European competition law. But Advocate General Athanasios Rantos at the EU Court of Justice ruled on Thursday:
“The FIFA-UEFA rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with EU competition law.”
“Whilst ESLC is free to set up its own independent football competition outside the UEFA and FIFA ecosystem, it cannot however, in parallel with the creation of such a competition, continue to participate in the football competitions organized by FIFA and UEFA without the prior authorization of those federations.”
UEFA described the European court’s ruling as “an encouraging step towards preserving the existing dynamic and democratic governance structure of the European football pyramid”.
“UEFA warmly welcomes today’s unequivocal Opinion recommending a ruling of the CJEU in support of our central mission to govern European football, protect the pyramid and develop the game across Europe,” a statement from European football’s governing body read.
“Football in Europe remains united and steadfastly opposed to the ESL, or any such breakaway proposals, which would threaten the entire European sports ecosystem.”