The prospects for a revival European Super League were pushed back after a key legal opinion argued that UEFA and Fifa were within their rights to sanction clubs who join a breakaway.
The opinion issued by Advocate General Athanasios Rantos to the Court of Justice of the European Union is not binding and is only a potential argument for judges to consider before a final verdict in a case brought. by the company European Super League (ESLC) be returned Next year. But there was no doubt that opinion was strongly in favor of the existing powers of football.
The main conclusions expressed in the opinion were succinct. “The Fifa-Uefa rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with EU competition law,” the Advocate General wrote. “While the ESLC is free to create its own independent football competition outside the UEFA and the Fifa ecosystem, it cannot, however, alongside the creation of such a competition, continue to participate in the football competitions organized by Fifa and UEFA without the prior authorization of these federations.
Last year, when 12 clubs agreed to form a breakaway competition, they did so without official permission from UEFA or Fifa. This led UEFA to threaten the clubs with financial penalties and sporting penalties. The possibility of not being able to participate in both the Super League and domestic club competitions – combined with a sense of massive public outrage – bring down the competition. If the judges of the CJEU follow the advice of the Advocate General, this threat will become permanent.
UEFA said it “warmly welcomed” the Advocate General’s “unequivocal” conclusions. “The opinion reinforces the central role of the federations in the protection of sport, respect for the fundamental principles of sporting merit and open access to our members, as well as the union of football with shared responsibility and solidarity”, did he declare.
“Football in Europe remains united and firmly opposed to the ESL, or any such breakaway proposal, which would threaten the entire European sporting ecosystem.
“Pending the Court’s final judgment next year, UEFA, as a non-profit governing body in the public interest, will continue to focus fully on its mission to develop football for all, close cooperation with national associations, leagues, clubs, players, supporters, European institutions, governments and other relevant stakeholders who have the true values of football at heart.
The European Club Association, a body which represents 245 clubs, also welcomed the news. Led until last year by Andrea Agnelli, one of the main architects of the ESL, the ECA now insists that it considers the future of club football under the UEFA umbrella.
“ECA exists to promote, represent and serve European football clubs of all shapes and sizes,” said CEO Charlie Marshall. “We achieve this by working hand in hand not only with our members but also with our key stakeholders, none more important than UEFA. This partnership is the foundation for the future sustainability and success of European club football and we look forward to driving its responsible evolution in a way that secures it for future generations, not destroys it.
The three clubs that publicly support the ESL project – Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid — did not immediately comment on the notice. Marketing firm A22, which works to promote ESL, offered a short response on Twitter, calling for more clarity on possible penalties for those looking to join a breakaway in the future, should it happen. .
“Clubs and players must be able to know the conditions in advance in order to be able to participate in third-party events,” he said. “Sanctions must also be sufficiently clear, predictable and proportionate to limit any risk of arbitrary application.”