July 12 – The breakaway European Super League was described by UEFA as “a textbook example of a cartel” on day one of the two-day hearing at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that could alter the entire landscape of European club competition.
The spat between UEFA and FIFA on one side and the European Super League on the other is a crucial test case of whether money-spinning deals offered by rebel bodies will be given the green light.
Although the European Super League folded less than 48 hours after it was announced last year following a global backlash, three clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus — refused to back down.
The Super League then took their case to the Spanish courts which sought guidance from the ECJ.
On the opening day in Luxembourg, submissions were made on behalf of FiIFA, La Liga and the Spanish football federation as well as from 21 EU member states and the European Commission.
UEFA lawyer Donald Slater told the 15-judge panel that authorising the Super League would have led to the emergence of other closed leagues and the collapse of the existing system of open competitions.
“If UEFA had been compelled to authorise such a closed competition, other closed leagues would have emerged, leading to a systemic collapse of the European sports model,” he said.
But UEFA should not be allowed to browbeat potential competitors, argued Super League lawyer Miguel Odriozola
“For many decades, UEFA has ruled with an iron fist and beaten away any club that threatens its monopoly. We have taken upon ourselves to denounce the practices of UEFA,” he said.
The advocate general in the case, who is listed as Athanasios Rantos from Greece, will provide a written opinion on how he believes the court should act, probably around September. A final decision is not expected before the end of this year or even early 2023.
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