Blow for FIFA and UEFA as ECJ says rules banning of breakaway European Super League unlawful; reignites debate
“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," said the ruling by the ECJ.
The revival of the European Super League is now a possibility following Thursday's decision by judges at the European Court of Justice, who deemed the obstruction of the new competition to be in violation of EU law. “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," said the ruling by the ECJ.
"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," it added.
"Similarly, the rules giving FIFA and UEFA exclusive control over the commercial exploitation of the rights related to those competitions are such as to restrict competition, given their importance for the media, consumers and television viewers in the European Union," it noted.
The controversy began in April 2021 when 12 of Europe's football giants, including Barcelona, Real Madrid, and six Premier League clubs, announced plans to break away from their domestic competitions and establish the European Super League. However, the ambitious project faced a swift collapse within days of its announcement due to widespread backlash from fans, football associations, and governing bodies.
Undeterred by the initial setback, Barcelona and Real Madrid persisted in their interest in creating the European Super League. The legal battle took them through the Madrid courts and ultimately to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
The recent ruling by the ECJ challenges the authority of UEFA and FIFA in governing football and questions the conformity of existing rules with competition law. The court's decision has the potential to reignite discussions about the formation of a new Super League, although clubs may approach this path cautiously, given the intense backlash and fan reactions witnessed two and a half years ago.
The debate surrounding the European Super League has been a divisive issue in the football community, highlighting the tension between the aspirations of elite clubs and the sentiments of fans and traditional football structures. The ECJ's ruling introduces a new chapter in this ongoing saga, raising questions about the future landscape of European football and the balance of power between governing bodies and breakaway clubs.
As clubs assess the implications of the ECJ decision, the possibility of a revived European Super League remains uncertain. The delicate balance between the desire for increased competition and financial gains and the need to preserve the essence of domestic leagues and fan loyalty will continue to shape the discourse surrounding the future of European football.
Here's a look at how football fans reacted to Thursday's ruling on X, formerly Twitter: