European Super League verdict explained: Teams involved and everything you need to know after court ruling

The Super League has launched new ambitious plans to revolutionise European football following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice, which concluded Uefa had unlawfully blocked the original project.

First launched in 2021, the European Super League proposed a breakaway competition involving some of Europe’s biggest teams in a “closed shop” format. The controversial plans were met with fierce opposition from fans and the football’s governing bodies, leading to its stunning collapse within days of being launched.

But, the European Super League wasn’t actually killed off, and the European Court of Justice has ruled that the regulations at the time concerning the breakaway were inadequate. Those behind the Super League have now unveiled new tournament plans, despite strong opposition across football.

The European Court of Justice ruled that Uefa and Fifa acted ”unlawfully” by blocking the formation of the European Super League in 2021. The EU’s top court ruled that Fifa and Uefa abused their dominant position by forbidding clubs outright to compete in a ESL, but added that the Super League may still not be approved.

In its ruling, the ECJ stated: “The Fifa and Uefa rules on prior approval of interclub football competitions, such as the Super League, are contrary to EU law. They are contrary to competition law and the freedom to provide services.

“The Fifa and Uefa rules making any new interclub football project subject to their prior approval, such as the Super League, and prohibiting clubs and players from playing in those competitions, are unlawful. There is no framework for the Fifa and Uefa rules ensuring that they are transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate.”

Sports development company A22, formed to assist in the creation of the ESL, had claimed that the governing bodies held a monopoly position which was in breach of the EU’s Competition and Free Movement Law.

A22 tweeted: “We have won the right to compete. The Uefa-monopoly is over. Football is free.” It added: “Clubs are now free from the threat of sanction and free to determine their own futures.”

The decision by the ECJ is binding and not subject to appeal.

Supporters of the European Super League say that Uefa has been undermined and that their plans have been vindicated. A22, the organisation behind the Super League, announced a fresh proposal for new men’s and women’s midweek European competitions with participation based on sporting merit with promotion/relegation between leagues, no permanent members and all Super League matches being free to watch.

But the ECJ’s judgement was not a ruling on whether the Super League should exist. The ECJ explained that, despite its decision on Uefa’s rules: “That does not mean that a competition such as the Super League project must necessarily be approved. The Court, having been asked generally about the FIFA and UEFA rules, does not rule on that specific project in its judgment.”

Uefa will now need to change and clarify its rules on the authorisation of new competitions, in order to comply with EU law. This is something the organisation has been working on for 18 months, in anticipation of such a ruling. Once Uefa’s rules are updated, the Super League will still need to acquire authorisation to set up its competition.

Those behind the European Super League project, including executives at Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, have been emboldened by the ECJ’s verdict. But many other clubs and leagues, including the Premier League, have come out in opposition to the ESL since the judgement was made, and there remains little widespread support for the kind of dramatic change to the European football landscape that the ESL is proposing.

The specifics of the format are outlined here, but essentially the men’s competition would see 64 teams split into a three-division system, with 16 clubs in each of the top two leagues and 32 clubs in the third. They would then be further split into divisions of eight with a knockout system at the end to determine the champions of each league.

The women’s competition would be largely the same but without the 32-team third tier, meaning just two leagues of 16 teams, so 32 clubs in total involved. There would be relegation between the leagues in both competitions and club could earn promotion into the bottom tier based on performances in their domestic league.

Even if a revised European Super League does get the green light, it appears as if Premier League clubs will still be unable to join. The UK is no longer bound by EU law since Brexit and the UK government’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport released a statement that indicated a bill about to pass into law, which sets up a new independent football regulator, would stop English clubs signing up for a breakaway competition.

“The attempt to create a breakaway competition was a defining moment in English football and was universally condemned by fans, clubs and the Government,” said a DCMS spokesperson.

“We took decisive action at the time by triggering the fan-led review of football governance, which called for the creation of a new independent regulator for English football. We will shortly be bringing forward legislation that makes this a reality, and will stop clubs from joining any similar breakaway competitions in the future.”

Clubs from all over Europe have come out to speak against the new proposal from A22, including the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid.

Related Articles

Bir cavab yazın

Sizin e-poçt ünvanınız dərc edilməyəcəkdir. Gərəkli sahələr * ilə işarələnmişdir

Back to top button