The European Super League still represents “a continuing existential threat to the foundations and future of European football,” UEFA warned, as aggressive legal action originally brought by the 12 breakaway clubs continues to challenge its structure.
Although nine of the original 12 clubs, including all six from the Premier League, were quick to say they withdrew from the project after the defamation that met its launch on April 18, they are still all members of the Super Society. League which maintains the challenge legality. The action in a Madrid court was brought against UEFA by all 12 clubs, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, on the day they announced their largely derided plan for a competition separatist with themselves as permanent members, after months of secret discussions and planning.
The clubs lawsuit mainly attacks UEFA’s position as the governing body and regulator of European football as well as the organizer of the Champions League, claiming it is monopoly and anti-competitive, unfairly preventing clubs to form their own competitions. Fan groups, federations, UEFA, Fifa and politicians across Europe have denounced the breakaway as a business interested in wealthy clubs seeking a closed circle to make even more money, and the six Premier League clubs announced their withdrawal within two days.
However, the legal action they initiated continues and although Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are the only clubs actively supporting him, the Super League company that brought the case has failed been dissolved. The 12 clubs remain shareholders and the agreement they signed by committing to the breakaway is still in place. City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs declined to answer questions from the Guardian about their intentions, but multiple sources said the four clubs were ready to try to dissolve the company or call a board meeting to end the legal action.
This has led to suspicion that Liverpool and United are still privately supporting the breakaway despite their public statements. However, both clubs categorically deny this, suggesting they follow different legal advice, which warns against any action that could be seen as defying Madrid court orders preventing UEFA from seeking the liquidation of the company. .
The threat to UEFA intensified even as the Super League project was widely seen to have collapsed. On Tuesday, UEFA must respond to a Madrid court ruling last week that UEFA violated previous orders not to take action against the Super League or its clubs while the case continues. He accused UEFA of having acted “outside the rule of law, of actively promoting anti-competitive practices”, of having initiated disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona and of having concluded agreements with other clubs.
The court threatened to impose fines and even to file a complaint for “judicial disobedience” with the public prosecutor of Madrid.
UEFA declined to comment but is expected to argue that it has complied with the court’s demands, having declared the disciplinary proceedings “null and void” on Monday evening.
The Madrid judge referred the competitive aspects of the clubs lawsuit to the European Court of Justice, and there is intense frustration around football that UEFA still has to grapple with a case brought by a few self-selected clubs, including the six Premier League clubs. , despite their withdrawal from the breakaway.
In recently issued guidelines to all national football associations in Europe, seen by the Guardian, UEFA warned: “The continued pursuit of this ESL [European Super League] project and the resulting court cases pose a continuing existential threat to the foundations and future of European football and the European sporting model.
Presenting an unyielding defense of the organization of European football for decades through the federations, UEFA and Fifa, with promotion and relegation, agreed rules and some redistribution of income, the UEFA note states : “The choice is between solidarity and selfish indulgence”, and that the La Super League is “purely motivated by greed and a means to prevent competition”.
He also warns against the hypothesis of an easy rejection of the file: “Inaction, complacency and / or overconfidence vis-à-vis the governmental and judicial rejection of this ESL project would be dangerously naive and could invite the crumbling of the European model of sport by aggressive commercial interests.
Liverpool have denied any suggestion their US owners remain sympathetic to the breakaway, pointing to changes to the club’s constitution giving Spirit of Shankly fan confidence a deciding vote if the club consider joining a new competition.
A spokesperson for Liverpool said: “Our involvement in the proposed ESL plans has been halted. We are absolutely determined to follow this through and there should be no ambiguity to suggest otherwise. We act on the basis of the best legal advice and approaches to properly terminate our involvement. “
Manchester United said in a statement: “Our position as previously announced has not changed – we will not participate in the European Super League. The process of dissolving the European Super League entity is impacted by an ongoing litigation in Spain. We are not involved in this dispute so it would be inappropriate to comment. “
Adding to the perception that these clubs created an improper mess, the Guardian understands that the Super League company still owes some of the people who worked for it until its failed launch. The explanation given would be that the company has not held a board of directors since April, so payment of its debts has not been authorized.