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European Super League handed another major blow by Madrid court, EPL-UEFA release statements

The controversial project of the European Super League is still alive for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus. However, the Madrid court has handed another blow to the project, while EPL and UEFA have released a statement on the same.

football European Super League ESL handed another major blow by Madrid court, English Premier League EPL-UEFA release statements-ayh
First Published Dec 16, 2022, 12:53 PM IST

Last year, controversy erupted in the European football community. It was announced that some of the top European clubs would be participating in a new football tournament called the European Super League (ESL) in a breakaway from the traditional UEFA Champions League (UCL), regardless of their league positioning. It led to a massive outrage among football fans across the globe, leading to mass protests, while the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) mulled sanctions on the clubs involved. While the clubs later pulled out, the project was still kept alive by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus. Now, a Madrid court has handed a fresh blow to the project’s hopes.

The ESL claimed last year that UEFA’s control of European football includes an illegal monopoly. However, the Madrid court ruled it as justified, besides UEFA threatening the company involved in the formation of the ESL with severe sanctions. UEFA has accused the ESL’s founder company of abuse of power and creating an unsustainable football model.

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While ESL sought the protection of the three currently involved clubs from any sanctions from UEFA, the plea has been rejected. The ruling now means that the club involved will have to do away with UEFA and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to form a new tournament of theirs.

In its statement, UEFA mentioned, “UEFA welcomes today’s unequivocal Opinion of Advocate General Rantos, which is an encouraging step towards preserving the existing dynamic and democratic governance structure of the European football pyramid. The Opinion reinforces the central role of federations in protecting the sport, upholding fundamental principles of sporting merit and open access across our members, as well as uniting football with shared responsibility and solidarity.”

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“Football in Europe remains united and steadfastly opposed to the ESL, or any such breakaway proposals, which would threaten the entire European sports ecosystem. While we await the Court’s final judgment due next year, UEFA, as a public interest, not-for-profit governing body, will continue to be fully focused on its mission to develop football for all, in close cooperation with national associations, leagues, clubs, players, fans, EU institutions, governments and other relevant stakeholders who have the true values of football at heart,” added UEFA.

In the meantime, English Premier League (EPL) also released its statement: “The Premier League welcomes the opinion issued today by the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case involving the ‘European Superleague Company’, FIFA and UEFA. We share the Advocate General’s clear view that open access is fundamental to European club football.”

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“Further to today’s opinion, the Premier League reiterates its commitment to the principles underpinning the current balance of domestic and European competitions, including Open access, Annual merit-based qualification from domestic leagues for European club competitions, Weekends reserved for domestic football, Substantial solidarity funding for football development,” concluded EPL.

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