European Super League (ESL) organizers collected a significant victory inside a Madrid courtroom on Tuesday. A22, promoters of the breakaway league, won an appeal previously filed against FIFA and UEFA.
The court rules UEFA and FIFA cannot punish the ESL. FIFA and UEFA wanted to sanction ESL organizers for attempting to form the league.
Court calls FIFA and UEFA complaints towards Super League naive, flimsy
CBS Sports‘ Ben Jacobs revealed official court documents regarding the decision. “To claim that, outside of the UEFA and FIFA ecosystem, an independent professional soccer competition could be freely created that could compete with theirs, free from their interference. That reveals the utmost naivety,” the statement read.
“Because the defendants have such a strong market power that from their monopoly position they are capable of intimidating, as they have done through public statements such as those that have motivated this litigation.”
“The initiative of the entrepreneur who wants to enter into competition is attacked by the monopolist who doesn’t want it and uses power to obstruct. Possible justification of FIFA and UEFA’s conduct as an attempt to protect European sporting model is, prima facie, a flimsy excuse.”
The decision comes six weeks after FIFA and UEFA received support from the European Court of Justice on the matter. Athanasios Rantos insisted that the court side with the two governing bodies of the sport in blocking ESL’s formation. Rantos claimed that ESL organizers should adhere to FIFA/UEFA rules regarding a breakaway league.
Organizers aim for 2024 return of ESL
Nevertheless, the ESL could very well be back on track. A22 CEO Bernd Reichart has always maintained that the league would rebound in the coming years. This was even after the decision by Rantos last month. “It is important to explain the legal context. The Super League is not dead, not at all, it is very alive,” Reichart recently proclaimed.
“We have met with more than 30 clubs in more than 10 countries in Europe, who share our diagnosis of football’s problems, and believe that fundamental reforms are necessary in the competitions and a proper system of financial fair play is required.”
Reichart and the rest of the ESL organizers have tentatively planned to reintroduce the league by 2024. As of now, only Barcelona, Juventus, and Real Madrid firmly remain in the plans. However, other clubs could join the massive trio. Initially, 12 teams showed interest in forming the ESL back in 2021. Organizers would prefer a full league of 20 clubs to round out the competition.
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