The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg has rejected an appeal by UEFA against a court decision ordering it to suspend disciplinary proceedings against the founders of the proposed European Super League (ESL), including Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid, the three clubs announced on Friday.
The ECJ, which is scheduled to assess “UEFA’s monopolistic position over European football,” also ordered European football’s governing body to withdraw fines already imposed on nine of the 12 ESL founding clubs, the three clubs added in a joint statement.
It warned UEFA that failure to comply immediately with its decision would result in fines and potential criminal liability, the three clubs said.
Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid also confirmed their will to pursue their plans to create the Super League.
“Our aim is to keep developing the Super League project in a constructive and cooperative manner, always counting on all football stakeholders: fans, players, coaches, clubs, leagues, and national and international associations,” they said. “We remain confident in the success of a project that will always be compliant with European Union laws.”
In May, UEFA’s Appeals Commission had decided to suspend disciplinary proceedings against the three clubs “until further notice” following an injunction by a Madrid court banning the organization as well as FIFA from taking action against the project to create the ESL, a potential competitor to the Champions League, for as long as the conflict is not settled.
After a two-day polemic that had aroused opposition from supporters, organisations and players, nine of the 12 founding clubs, including the last League of Champions finalists, Chelsea and Manchester City, pulled out, recognising that they had made a “mistake.”
UEFA imposed a light sentence on the rebels, which agreed to pay a combined fine of 15 million euros and forfeit 5% of their prize money for a season.
The six English clubs that had been involved in the plans to create the ESL also signed a financial agreement with their national championship, the powerful Premier League, for a total amount of 25 million euros, British media reported on Wednesday.
UEFA suspended disciplinary action against the final three rebel clubs pending the result of the legal debate, which became even more complicated after the Madrid court took the case to the European Court of Justice.
The issue at hand for the governance of the sport in Europe and the monopoly claimed by its bodies is whether, by thus protecting its championships, UEFA misused its dominant position, thereby violating the right to competition.
The body chaired by Aleksander Ceferin had threatened Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona with exclusion from European competitions.
The Brussels Times