FIFA and UEFA acted 'unlawfully' with Super League ban as new court verdict rocks football


The European Court of Justice has ruled that FIFA and UEFA acted unlawfully in blocking attempts to form a European Super League. In a decision that could have huge ramifications for European and worldwide football, FIFA and UEFA have been told they were abusing their power within the game by creating rules to prevent the creation of a new competition.

The court said on Thursday that such rules were "contrary to competition law and the freedom to provide services.”

However, it said that it was not ruling specifically on the European Super League. It does not mean that new proposals for that competition necessarily need to be approved if they are put forward in the future.

"The FIFA and UEFA rules on prior approval of interclub football competitions, such as the Super League, are contrary to EU law. They are contrary to competition law and the freedom to provide services," the court said.

"The FIFA and UEFA rules making any new interclub football project subject to their prior approval, such as the Super League, and prohibiting clubs and players from playing in those competitions, are unlawful. There is no framework for the FIFA and UEFA rules ensuring that they are transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate.

"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."

Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham were among 12 European clubs who rocked football by announcing plans to form a European Super League in April 2021. The proposal prompted widespread condemnation, prompting all six Premier League clubs to withdraw only 48 hours later.

Fresh developments have seen plans for a new 80-team, multi-divisional format put forward. Those behind that idea could now accelerate that development over the coming months.

A22 Sports Management, the European commercial sports development company behind the new project, challenged the right of FIFA and UEFA to block the formation of the European Super League and subsequently impose sanctions via the courts on clubs who wish to compete in them.

A22 argued football's international and European governing bodies have an unfair monopoly and market dominance on the running of club competitions. The European Court of Justice has now ruled in A22’s favour.

After the verdict, the company posted on X: “We have won the right to compete. UEFA's monopoly is over. Football is FREE. Now the clubs will no longer suffer threats and sanctions. They are free to decide their own future.”

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