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UPDATE 4-Soccer-Super League trio to carry on with breakaway project after court decision

Reuters
Reuters
 2021-07-30

(Releads with clubs’ plans to continue development of Super League)

July 30 (Reuters) - Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus said on Friday they will continue with plans for a European Super League after a court ruled that governing body UEFA terminate disciplinary proceedings against founding members of the breakaway project.

The three clubs released a joint statement here welcoming a Madrid court's decision on Friday asking UEFA to revoke action against them for planning the creation of the Super League.

Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the last ones standing of the 12 clubs that signed up to the breakaway project in April, only for it to unravel when six Premier League clubs plus Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid withdrew.

The 17th Mercantile Court of Madrid ordered that all financial and sporting penalties against the founding members of the Super League were dropped, including the potential 100 million euro ($118.60 million) non-compliance penalty for the nine clubs who backed out of the project should they rejoin it, as they agreed with UEFA.

“The Court backs the request made by the promoters of the European Super League, dismisses UEFA’s appeal, and confirms its warning to UEFA that failure to comply with its ruling shall result in fines and potential criminal liability,” the clubs said.

“The case will be assessed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which shall review UEFA’s monopolistic position over European football... We are pleased that going forward we will no longer be subject to ongoing UEFA threats.

“Our aim is to keep developing the Super League project in a constructive and cooperative manner... We remain confident in the success of a project that will be always compliant with European Union laws.”

UEFA declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

The Court also ordered that UEFA requests that the Premier League and Italian Football Federation cancel all measures taken against the clubs from their leagues.

This includes the 22 million pounds ($30.58 million) ‘good-will payment’ and threat of a future 30-point deduction to the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’, issued on June 9.

The Italian FA had said they would ban Italian sides who participate in any future Super League from competing in the country’s top division, Serie A.

The judgement also said the Premier League and Italian FA must abstain from putting in place any measures that might, directly or indirectly, hinder the founding of a European Super League.

Unlike in the Champions League, where teams have to qualify through the domestic league, the founding Super League teams guaranteed themselves a place in the new competition every year.

The Super League argued it would boost revenue for top clubs and allow them to distribute more money to the rest of the game.

However, the sport’s governing bodies, other teams and fan organisations countered that it would increase the power and wealth of the elite clubs and the partially-closed structure of the league went against European football’s long-standing model.

Seeking to dissuade future breakaways, UEFA had sought to impose stiff penalties on the rebel clubs but suspended disciplinary proceedings in June.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have continued to defend the Super League plan, releasing joint statements in May complaining of unacceptable third-party pressures and threats to abandon the project.

Despite their involvement in the proposed European Super League, the three clubs have been admitted to the 2021-22 Champions League. ($1 = 0.8432 euros) ($1 = 0.7195 pounds) (Reporting by Rohith Nair, Manasi Pathak, Hritika Sharma and Inti Landauro; Editing by Louise Heavens and Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Christian Radnedge)

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