KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: European football federation UEFA has dropped all disciplinary action of the three remaining Super League rebels after considering the possible consequences of a Madrid court order.
This does not mean that action cannot be reinstituted against Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid if the European Court of Justice rules some time next year that UEFA’s monopoly does not breach European Union competition law.
Last week Spanish judge Judge Manuel Ruiz de Lara gave UEFA a five-day deadline to confirm that it had complied with an order dating back to April 20 and then July 1 to scrap disciplinary measures against the three clubs over the breakaway fiasco.
A continuing failure to comply, said Ruiz de Lara, would risk the imposition of financial penalties and request that the prosecutor’s office open a case against UEFA for contempt.
He stated that he considered UEFA to be acting “outside the rule of law , in open promotion of practices that compromise the principle of free competition in the relevant market for the organization of professional football competitions in the European Union .”
Now has obeyed. A statement said: “In the matter related to a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework in connection with the so called ‘Super League,’ the UEFA Appeals Body has declared today the proceedings null and void, as if the proceedings had never been opened.”
The UEFA case was launched in the fallout from the launch of the Super League by 12 clubs in April. The plan to split from the existing Champions League run by UEFA collapsed within 48 hours after the English clubs — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester clubs United and City — pulled out amid a backlash from their own fans and the government.
Three of the other Super League founding members — AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atlético Madrid — also quickly backed out.
The nine clubs agreed a ‘voluntary’ financial settlement with UEFA which would see them forfeit five per cent of their prize money from a single season in European competition and pay a combined €15m as a “gesture of goodwill” to benefit children, youth and grassroots football.
No cash will now be handed over.
UEFA takes note of the letter sent today by the independent UEFA Appeals Body in which the disciplinary proceedings that had been opened against FC Barcelona, Juventus FC and Real Madrid CF for a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework in connection with the so-called ‘Super League’ project have been declared null and void, without any prejudice, as if the proceedings had never been opened.
UEFA notes that the declaration made by the UEFA Appeals Body follows the formal notification made to UEFA of a court order granting UEFA a few days to clarify its compliance with decisions of the Madrid Commercial Court No. 17.
UEFA understands why the disciplinary proceedings are declared null and void. UEFA has always acted in good faith and reasonably understood that the decision by its independent disciplinary body, the UEFA Appeals Body, to suspend the disciplinary proceedings was in full compliance with the Court Orders of the Madrid Commercial Court No. 17, and given that the three mentioned clubs have since been admitted to UEFA club competitions. UEFA maintains its view that it has always acted in accordance with not only its Statutes and Regulations, but also with EU law, the European Convention on Human Rights and Swiss law in connection with the so-called Super League project. UEFA remains confident in and will continue to defend its position in all the relevant jurisdictions.
In relation with the Club Commitment Declarations UEFA received in May 2021 from 9 of the 12 Clubs that acted as founders of the so-called European Super League project, and with which such 9 Clubs had informed UEFA of their unilateral decisions to withdraw from the so-called Super League project, UEFA has informed the 9 Clubs that in view of the pending Court proceedings in Madrid, and to avoid any unnecessary complication, UEFA will not request payment of any of the amounts offered in the May Declarations of the Clubs, as long as the Court proceedings in Madrid involving, among others, UEFA are pending.
On its side, UEFA will obviously continue to respect and honour all contractual arrangements concluded with such 9 Clubs, following the receipt of the above-mentioned Declarations.
UEFA will continue to take all necessary steps, in strict accordance with national and EU law, in order to defend the interests of UEFA and of all football stakeholders.