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ECJ asked to referee Super League dispute

14 May 2021 / sports law Print

ECJ asked to referee Super League dispute

A court in Madrid has asked the EU’s highest court for its opinion on whether football’s governing bodies have the right to prevent top European clubs from forming their own breakaway ‘super league’.

Last month, 12 of the continent’s biggest clubs announced the formation of the European Super League, but the proposal provoked such an angry backlash from fans, players, managers, and politicians that it fell apart within days, with nine of the 12 pulling out.

The nine — Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid — have accepted financial penalties from Europe’s governing body UEFA.


Three more clubs — Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus — have not yet renounced the plan and face further action from UEFA’s disciplinary process.

In a preliminary ruling last month, Madrid’s commercial court said UEFA and its global counterpart FIFA could not take “any measure that prohibits, restricts, limits or conditions in any way the creation of the Super League”.

A report from the Reuters news agency said the court yesterday (13 May) asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to establish whether the governing bodies could prevent the clubs from creating a new league, and whether they could impose restrictions or penalties on clubs who remained part of the planned competition.

The report said the court document centres mainly around articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Article 101 prohibits cartels and other agreements which could disrupt free competition, while 102 prevents undertakings who hold a dominant position in a market from abusing that position.

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