EU Court Rules Against FIFA and UEFA’s Actions to Prevent European Super League, Eliminating Requirement for Prior Approval
In a significant legal decision, the European Union’s top court ruled that FIFA and UEFA’s attempts to block the European Super League (ESL) were illegal. The court emphasized that these actions contravened EU competition law, effectively removing the requirement for these football bodies to grant prior approval for new interclub competitions.
“There is no framework for the FIFA and UEFA rules ensuring that they are transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate,” the Court of Justice said on Thursday 21 December. “Similarly, the rules giving FIFA and UEFA exclusive control over the commercial exploitation of the rights related to those competitions are such as to restrict competition, given their importance for the media, consumers and television viewers in the European Union.”
While the EU court’s decision does not automatically green-light the ESL, following the ruling the football community found itself reassessing the potential revival of the ESL. The initial group of 12 clubs now faced the decision of whether to re-engage with the controversial league.
In response to the court’s decision, A22 Sports Management, the organization behind the ESL, expressed satisfaction, viewing it as a step towards breaking what they termed the ‘UEFA monopoly’. This perspective, however, was not universally shared. While some stakeholders saw it as a positive move towards diversifying football competitions, others, including La Liga, criticized the ESL as potentially harmful to the sport’s broader interests.
The ruling also sparked discussions about the need for reform in football governance. Advocates for change argued that the decision highlighted the necessity for more inclusive and transparent decision-making processes within the sport’s governing bodies.
The EU court’s ruling marks a pivotal moment in European football, challenging the authority of FIFA and UEFA over new interclub competitions. While it does not guarantee the establishment of the ESL, it opens up possibilities for alternative competitions to emerge without requiring prior approval from these governing bodies. The decision could lead to significant changes in the structure and governance of European football, with implications for clubs, players, and fans across the continent.