Uefa, sanctions on Super League clubs and the role of the EU antitrust

The Super League war is far from over. Indeed, it could have consequences that are difficult to imagine, if it moves to the judicial level, involving the EU Antitrust. The dual role that Uefa actually plays today in an increasingly invasive way – regulator of the sector and at the same time economic entity that centrally sells TV and sponsorship rights – has been stressed on several occasions by top-tier football clubs. , which invoke the freedom of enterprise guaranteed by the EU Treaties and the “precedent” of the basketball Euroleague. Competition that is based on multi-year licenses and on the autonomy of the clubs involved with respect to the Federations and on whose legitimacy it would be important to finally know the opinion of Brussels.

Dominant position

An intervention by the European Antitrust that recognized Uefa’s dominant position could have a disruptive effect on the current model, similar to what in other respects the so-called Bosman ruling had 26 years ago. If in fact the Uefa of president Alexander Ceferin will go ahead with the idea of ​​punishing Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​who have not turned back, banning them from the Cups for one or two years, it seems obvious that the three rebel clubs will turn to justice. sport (and here Uefa will have to identify an unsinkable legal basis to support the disqualification) than to ordinary jurisdiction.

The Tribunal of Madrid

And on this front there is already a “shield” represented by a sentence of the Court of Madrid of 20 April (n. 14/2021) pronounced by Manuel Ruiz de Lara, judge of the Commercial Court n. 17. In essence, the Spanish judge (the Superleague was founded in Madrid) the day after the announcement of the birth of the new reality “ordered Fifa and Uefa to refrain from taking any action that could jeopardize the pending initiative of the method”. This passage of the decision of the Madrid judge was mentioned in the statement with which Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​on Saturday 8 May, following the plea agreement between Uefa and the other nine founding clubs (prizes reduced by 5% for entry into the Cups championships of a season in exchange for abandoning the new format and apologies to Nyon), defended themselves, reaffirming however the principles of the initiative. It was neither a coup nor a clandestine project, given that Superlega (and Superchampions) had been discussed for some time in the institutional headquarters of continental football, and beyond.

The Superlega proposal

It happened, for example, in the Serie A League Council on February 16 (as Il Sole 24 Ore documented with the articles appeared on the site on May 3 and in the newspaper on 4). It was therefore a proposal made for financial and industrial reasons. Juve, Real and Barcelona, ​​not forgetting a jab at the 9 clubs (“We regret to see how the clubs, our friends and founding partners of the Super League, are now in an inconsistent and contradictory position”) have therefore denounced “that they have received and received, unacceptable pressures, threats and offenses from third parties in order to withdraw the proposed project and, consequently, to desist from the right / duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem through concrete proposals “. The three clubs reiterated that they have conceived, together with the other nine clubs, this project “to provide solutions to the unsustainable situation in the football sector”, and also “to have always wanted to establish a communication channel with Uefa and Fifa, in a constructive spirit ».

The role of Fifa

«We are ready – finally underlined the three“ rebel ”clubs – to reconsider the proposed approach. However, we would be irresponsible if, aware of the systemic crisis that led us to announce the Super League, we abandon the mission ». Fundamental in the coming weeks will be the mediator role of FIFA president Gianni Infantino who yesterday re-launched: «We need to think carefully about the next steps, because this is a complex issue that goes beyond a simple competition. It concerns the football ecosystem ».

 

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Author: Oleg Ceban
Graduated from University of Oxford. Previously, he worked in various diferent news media. Currently, it is a columnist of the world news section in the Free News editors.
Function: Editor
Oleg Ceban

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