European Super League project gets huge boost after court of justice ruling

Fifa and Uefa found to be ‘abusing a dominant position’

Uefa has been found to be “abusing a dominant position” in the way it applies its rules, leaving the potential for a revival of the European Super League project.

In a long-awaited ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Uefa and football’s international governing body, Fifa, were found to have rules relating to the establishment of new competitions that were not “transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate”. These rules have been declared “unlawful” by the court.

The judgment also found, however, that its decision “does not mean that a competition such as the Super League project must necessarily be approved”. The ruling has been awaited by football’s stakeholders as potentially offering sign as to the future of the European game and whether a project such a Super League could happen again.

Bernd Reichart, the chief executive of A22, a consultancy hired by the Super League Company, said on X: “We have won the right to compete. The Uefa monopoly is over. Football is free. Clubs are now free from the threat of sanction and free to determine their own futures.”


Reichart said of the project’s plans: “For fans: We propose free viewing of all Super League matches. For clubs: Revenues and solidarity spending will be guaranteed.”

In 2021, immediately after the announcement of the breakaway tournament, Uefa took disciplinary action against the 12 Super League clubs, with each sanctioned and banned from European qualification for joining a competition unauthorised by the governing body. The Super League company brought legal action in response, its arguments focusing on whether Uefa should have the power to decide what is authorised.

Uefa’s disciplinary processes were suspended as part of these proceedings, with nine of the 12 clubs also walking away from the Super League. An opinion published last year by an advocate general at the ECJ found Uefa had not acted against European competition law by sanctioning its clubs.

Proponents of a Super League have continued to devise plans for a competition. A22 presented a 10-point manifesto for reinventing the concept in February. It committed to “open competition” involving 60-80 clubs, chosen on sporting merit from their domestic leagues (which they would continue to play in). That would include a divisional system, meaning teams could be promoted or relegated within the competition.

As part of the Premier League’s Owners’ Charter agreed in June 2022, clubs said they would not “not engage in the creation of new competition formats outside of the Premier League’s rules”.

Thursday’s ECJ ruling will be referred back to a Madrid commercial court, after the Spanish jurisdiction made the referral in 2021, which will apply it to the facts of the Super League case.

The leading sports KC Nick de Marco posted on LinkedIn: “Following on from the recent decision of the FA Rule K tribunal that Fifa’s cap on agent fees is unlawful, today’s decision that Fifa & Uefa rules requiring prior approval for football competitions are unlawful is another very important blow to the monopoly power of sports governing bodies which no longer seem to be treated with the level of immunity from law they previously enjoyed when so much of their activity is on fact commercial activity.” – Guardian