Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Many European states support UEFA in the Super League trial

GENEVA (AP). More than half of the member states of the European Union have officially opposed the draft football Super League in the European Court of Justice, UEFA said on Wednesday.

Of the 27 EU members, 16 had filed written complaints against the league in court in Luxembourg by Monday’s deadline. The referee in Madrid asked the court to check whether UEFA and FIFA have monopoly control over the sport.

UEFA said the 16 countries include Spain and Italy – the home countries of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – teams that are in litigation between 12 Super League clubs.

Germany is also expected to compete against the Super League.

The European Court of Justice is expected to hold a public hearing in the first half of next year. The decision may take several more months.

EU member states want to protect the “European Sports Model”, which exempts football from competition laws. The model defends the role of elite and grassroots sports in European life when they are part of the same pyramid of competition and funding available to all through promotions and demotions.

The Super League project, which was announced in April but quickly collapsed, was to withdraw from the Champions League and host its own 20-team competition. Fifteen invited clubs from the five richest football markets in Europe would have protected status, while the remaining five clubs would be open to other clubs.

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The 12 first members of the Super League simultaneously filed lawsuits in the commercial court of Madrid against the governing bodies of football. Clubs oppose the triple role of UEFA and FIFA as regulators of football, commercial operators with their own competitions and controllers with the power to restrict opponents.

Although the Super League project ended within 48 hours – after six English clubs withdrew amid fierce backlash from fans and politicians – the legal battle continues on their behalf.

The referee in Madrid asked the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to examine the powers of the football authorities to organize competitions and their right to impose sanctions on applicants on this body.

In May, UEFA announced a settlement agreement with nine Super League members who had withdrawn from the tournament. This included the payment of millions of dollars in fines and the loss of future prize money, as well as higher financial penalties for participating in any such project.

UEFA canceled these agreements last month, pending a European case, but said the disciplinary action could be renewed once a verdict was passed.


More AP Football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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