The European Super League project has been handed a major boost as the European Court of Justice has ruled that FIFA and UEFA are unable to punish breakaway clubs and players.
Twelve clubs – including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham from the Premier League – put forward a proposal in 2021 to drop out of the UEFA-run Champions League and Europa League and form a new European Super League.
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UEFA and FIFA subsequently threatened to ban players who opted to participate in the European Super League from playing for their national teams at World Cup and European Championship tournaments.
But in a statement on Thursday (December 21) morning, the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) has declared that the threat from FIFA and UEFA is ‘contrary to EU law’.
The ruling stated that FIFA and UEFA must ensure their powers are ‘transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate’.
The ECJ added: ‘However, the powers of FIFA and UEFA are not subject to any such criteria. FIFA and UEFA are, therefore, abusing a dominant position.
‘Moreover, given their arbitrary nature, their rules on approval, control and sanctions must be held to be unjustified restrictions on the freedom to provide services.
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‘That does not mean that a competition such as the Super League project must necessarily be approved. The Court does not rule on that specific project in its judgment.’
La Liga trio Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid also signed up for the European Super League, along with Italian sides Juventus, Inter and AC Milan.
In a statement released after the EU court’s ruling, La Liga said: ‘Today more than ever we remember that the “Super League” is a selfish and elitist model.
‘Any format that is not totally open, with direct access, year after year, via domestic leagues, is a closed model.’
The proposal to form a breakaway European Super League sparked widespread anger from supporters and other European leagues, and plans collapsed within a matter of days.
All six Premier League clubs, plus Atletico Madrid, Inter and AC Milan were fined by UEFA.
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