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Tue, May 28, 2024

A Spanish court has ruled that UEFA and FIFA were wrong to ban clubs from joining the breakaway European Super League

A Spanish court has ruled that UEFA and FIFA were wrong to ban clubs from joining the breakaway European Super League

The head judge of Commercial Court No. 17 in Madrid has ruled in favour of the European Super League Company SL (ESLC) in their lawsuit against UEFA and FIFA.

The judge determined that both organisations have misused their power by limiting market competition. They have given themselves the power to prevent participation in other competitions and enforce unjust restrictions, violating EU laws.

The case was brought by A22 Sports Management, the company behind the ESL, against UEFA, FIFA, Spain's La Liga and the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

The ruling mandates that FIFA and UEFA cease their anti-competitive practices and take steps to prevent future occurrences. Additionally, they must reverse any impacts of their actions that took place before or during the legal proceedings. This all started on April 18, 2021, when the ESLC announced the Super League project, encountering resistance from FIFA and UEFA.

The judge's decision aligns with the Court of Justice of the European Union, which found that certain rules in FIFA and UEFA statutes contradict EU competition laws. This includes regulations related to international matches and the structure of the competition market in the EU.

The ruling also condemns statements made by FIFA, UEFA, and other entities, including football federations and leagues from England, Italy, and Spain. These statements, issued in reaction to the Super League project, were found to be in violation of EU competition laws as well.

UEFA said the ruling "has not given the green light to, nor has it approved, projects like the Super League”, while La Liga added the court "did not endorse" the project.

Bernd Reichart, chief executive of A22, took a different view, saying the ruling meant "the era of the monopoly is now definitively over" and was "an important step towards a truly competitive and sustainable club football landscape in Europe".

Reichart also accused UEFA of stifling innovation and said clubs "should not have to fear threats of sanctions simply for having ideas and conversations".

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