Superlega, Reichart: “Protected by UEFA sanctions”

“Now forward free from pressure and threats”

The 12 clubs involved in the European Super League project have had their protection against possible UEFA sanctions restored, at least until the European Court of Justice rules on the case by the end of the year. An injunction has been filed in a Madrid court as the controversial league was set up in April 2021 on behalf of the clubs, preventing UEFA or Fifa from taking any action against them or their players for the involvement. In April last year that injunction was overturned but has now been reinstated following further proceedings in the Spanish capital this month.

The Court of Justice will rule later this year on whether UEFA and FIFA have abused a dominant position under European competition law, first blocking the creation of the Super League and then seeking to fine the clubs involved. UEFA and FIFA rules that allow them to prevent such competitions from operating under their auspices were found compatible with EU law by the advocate general in last month’s case, but his opinion is not binding.

But at least until legal proceedings in the Court of Justice are completed, Superleague clubs – which include the Premier League’s “Big Six” – cannot be sanctioned by UEFA. The Madrid court decision was welcomed by A22, a company set up to sponsor and assist in the creation of a European Super League. Its chief executive Bernd Reichart said: “We welcome the fact that this court decision allows A22 to freely continue its project to create an exciting new European football competition.”

“It confirms that UEFA’s monopoly position cannot be used to pressure or threaten clubs, players or companies that want to innovate and reinvigorate competition in professional football. We will therefore continue our dialogue with football stakeholders in a new and appropriate, free from threats and other obstructive steps taken by UEFA and other bodies,” added Reichart.

The Madrid court said UEFA’s insistence that its conduct towards Superleague clubs was motivated by a desire to protect Europe’s sporting model of open competition was “a flimsy excuse”. He said the steps taken by UEFA and FIFA are “typical obstacles of closed and anachronistic models that are not in line with free competition”. The date on which the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice will issue its final ruling on the case, which cannot be appealed, has not yet been confirmed.