UEFA drops lawsuits against remaining European Super League teams

29 Sep 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

UEFA, European football’s governing body, is nullifying its disciplinary actions against the 12 teams that sought to form the breakaway European Super League (ESL), including three who have not disavowed the project - Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus - after a court ruling by a Madrid judge stated UEFA was breaking European Union free trade laws by pursuing disciplinary action against the three clubs.

The disciplinary proceedings against those clubs “have been declared null and void, without any prejudice, as if the proceedings had never been opened,” UEFA wrote. In doing so, UEFA bowed to a ruling in a lawsuit initially brought by all 12 breakaway clubs in April.

The three clubs – Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus - had argued in court that UEFA's attempt to punish them for setting up a breakaway league was against European competition law.

The decision to drop the penalties sees UEFA comply with the court ruling in Madrid which established that UEFA did not have the statutory authority to take action against the three teams

As a result of the ruling, UEFA is also cancelling the sanctions imposed against the nine other ESL teams, which included 5% of their revenues from European competition for one year and a combined 15 million euros worth of donations to support grassroots and communities as a punishment for trying to set up the ESL in April.

The nine clubs are Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

In its ongoing legal battle with the ESL clubs, UEFA said in a statement that it "does not recognise the jurisdiction of the Court in Madrid" and will be making an appeal to a higher court in Madrid.

"In addition, UEFA has filed a motion for the recusal of the judge presiding over the current proceedings as it believes there are significant irregularities in these proceedings," UEFA said.

"In line with Spanish law - and in the fundamental interests of justice - UEFA fully expects the judge in question to immediately stand aside pending the full and proper consideration of this motion.

"UEFA will continue to take all necessary steps, in strict accordance with national and EU law, in order to defend its interests and - most importantly - those of its members and all football stakeholders."

The ESL was announced in April to counter the UEFA Champions League, but the plan quickly fell apart as UEFA and the national football associations across Europe spoke out against the idea, while fans of many teams protested outside the clubs' grounds.

While Barcelona, Real, Madrid and Juventus continue to fight on. The nine other clubs - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter – have already announced their withdrawal from the ESL.

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