European Super League boosted as clubs are told FIFA and UEFA must not interfere

By Sports Desk January 31, 2023

European Super League chiefs have succeeded in restoring an injunction preventing UEFA and FIFA from punishing clubs wishing to be involved in the controversial project.

Madrid's Audiencia Provincial Civil court issued a decision on Tuesday that was welcomed by organisers of the planned new competition.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have been the only clubs who have not backed away from the Super League, since its launch in April 2021 sparked a backlash and led nine of the 12 teams involved to pull out.

World governing body FIFA and European counterpart UEFA had warned players and clubs taking part in the breakaway league would be banned from their competitions, which include the World Cup and European Championship.

In December, an opinion published by the European Union's Court of Justice (CJEU) said UEFA and FIFA would be entitled to freeze out a European Super League and its competing teams.

That was in response to a request by the Commercial Court in Madrid to rule on whether FIFA and UEFA would have the right to take action in accordance with competition law and fundamental freedoms.

European Super League chiefs argued such actions should be regarded as anti-competitive and incompatible with EU competition law. The CJEU opinion was not a binding ruling, which is due to follow in the coming months, and now the sport's ruling bodies have been told they should not be using powers to intervene in the meantime.

The Madrid court said on Tuesday: "The problem is that the risk that exists of the arbitrary use by FIFA and UEFA of its disciplinary power does not adhere to the repercussion of its effects within the competitions they manage, but it can also be used, as it is clear that it has been threatened with doing so, to discourage any purpose of the operators of the market who are tempted to build relationships with the competitor."

It added: "The eventual justification of the conduct of FIFA and UEFA as an attempt to protect the European sports model we consider it, prima facie, as a flimsy excuse."

There is no guarantee clubs will be tempted back to the European Super League, given supporters of many teams were so strongly opposed, but Tuesday's ruling may encourage more to show an interest.

Six clubs from the Premier League and three each from LaLiga and Serie A initially agreed to join the European Super League, prior to public reaction leading to a rethink.

A22 Sports Management was set up to manage the European Super League project, and its CEO Bernd Reichart welcomed the latest development, saying it would allow his business "to freely continue the project of creating a new and exciting European football competition".

Reichart added: "It confirms that UEFA's monopoly position cannot be used to pressure or threaten clubs, players or companies willing to innovate and invigorate competition in professional football.

"We will therefore continue our dialogue with football stakeholders in a new and more appropriate environment, free from threats and other obstructive steps taken by UEFA and other bodies."

Related items

  • Tottenham chief Paratici faces uncertain future after ban extended worldwide by FIFA Tottenham chief Paratici faces uncertain future after ban extended worldwide by FIFA

    Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici's future at the club has been cast into doubt after his ban by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) was extended worldwide by FIFA.

    Paratici was one of 11 individuals connected with Juventus who were issued with bans by the FIGC in January after the club was found guilty of false accounting in relation to transfer dealings.

    Juventus were also docked 15 points as part of the punishment.

    Paratici and Juventus denied any wrongdoing, with an appeal against the initial sanctions imposed by the FIGC to be heard by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on April 19.

    Despite his 30-month ban, Spurs director Paratici was able to continue his role with the Premier League club because the suspension only applied to Italian Football. 

    However, FIFA confirmed on Wednesday the bans handed out by the FIGC have been extended worldwide, meaning Paratici will be unable to fulfil his duties at Spurs unless his appeal is successful. 

    A widely reported FIFA statement read: "FIFA can confirm that following a request by the FIGC, the chairperson of the FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by the FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect."

    The news comes just three days after the sacking of Spurs head coach Antonio Conte, with the Italian leaving after 17 months in charge. 

    Paratici, who would have likely played an important in appointing Conte’s replacement, appeared in a video on Tuesday outlining Spurs' plans for the rest of the season and describing the decision to fire the former Inter and Chelsea coach as "the right decision."

  • Fati's father wants son to leave Barcelona despite Ansu's wish to stay Fati's father wants son to leave Barcelona despite Ansu's wish to stay

    Ansu Fati wants to stay at Barcelona, but his father has other ideas.

    The 20-year-old, who has been with the club for a decade, has made 38 appearances in all competitions this season but 27 of them have come as a substitute.

    Bori Fati – who manages his son alongside agent Jorge Mendes – has been left angered by the situation and believes the winger deserves more minutes for Xavi's side.

    "If it was up to me, I would take him [to another team] but [Ansu] wants to stay at Barcelona," Bori Fati told Spanish outlet Cope.

    "He does not want to sign for another club, but I want to see him succeed. As a dad, I am angry.

    "Seeing Ansu play so little winds you up a little bit, and sometimes I think as a father, not a coach."

    Fati, who has scored six goals this season, is under a long-term contract with Barca, who are 12 points clear at the top of LaLiga. 

    And despite his father's wish, Fati has previously stated his desire to remain with Barcelona, where he feels at home. 

    "I'm under contract with Barcelona until June 2027, and I hope to stay here for many more years," he said in February.

    "I feel grateful and lucky to play for Barca and I have to thank the people who support me daily for their backing."

     

    The situation led to Bori calling a meeting with Barcelona sporting director Mateu Alemany, and agent Mendes.

    Alemany reassured him of his son's role at the club, though Bori remains unconvinced the situation will change.

    "I called Mateu," said Bori. "He told us that Ansu is part of the club's heritage, and they have bet big on him.

    "As a dad, I think differently, maybe I am wrong. He is your franchise player, the number 10, he took [that number] on when no one was ready to take it from [Lionel] Messi.

    "What annoys me is how they're treating him in terms of minutes. One minute, two, three.

    "I am not asking for him to be a starter, because all the forwards at the club are phenomenal, but we are talking about Ansu Fati, of Spain and Barcelona, who came through La Masia."

    It is now at the point where Bori no longer wants to visit Camp Nou to watch his son play.

    "If it carries on like this, I will go [back] to [the family home in] Seville and that's that," said Bori.

    "I didn't go to the game against [Real] Madrid. I won't go to the stadium anymore.

    "The other day Ansu asked me why I didn't go, he thought I was there. I told him I didn't fancy it."

  • Conte's Spurs exit no surprise to Vieri: 'He goes into conflict with everyone' Conte's Spurs exit no surprise to Vieri: 'He goes into conflict with everyone'

    Tottenham should not have been surprised by how Antonio Conte's time at the club ended as he "goes into conflict with everyone", says Christian Vieri.

    Conte joined Spurs in November 2021 after the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo and guided the north London club to a top-four Premier League finish at the end of his first season.

    Despite sitting fourth again this season, performances under Conte were hugely inconsistent with Spurs falling to disappointing exits in the Champions League and FA Cup in recent weeks. 

    Following an explosive press conference in which the Italian labelled his players "selfish", he left the club on Sunday.

    However, the breakdown in relations between Conte and the club was something former Juventus, Inter and Italy striker Vieri was expecting. 

    "Antonio goes into conflict with everyone, it's his character," he told Corriere della Sera.

    "If you take him, you can't expect someone who shuts up and everything is fine with him. He is always on the edge, it's his way of being; you can like it or not, you know who you get.

    "Every two years does he fight with everyone? Yes. Does he always leave with problems? Yes. 

    "You know he's demanding, serious, and it's hard to have him in your club, he doesn't let you sleep peacefully. 

    "They are choices. There are coaches like Conte and Mourinho who hammer at all hours, put pressure and always demand the best. 

    "And then there are those who are fine with anything, they stay there. Everyone trains and sees football in their own way, and it doesn't mean that this or that coach is right."

    Conte's former assistant Cristian Stellini is set to take charge of Tottenham alongside Ryan Mason until the end of the season. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.