Monday, December 11

The court deals another blow to the Super League after supporting UEFA

Joan Laporta and Florentino Perez. / ep

The commercial body lifts the precautionary measures by estimating the appeal of the European body and opens the way to sanction Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus. The magistrate considers that UEFA does not exercise an abusive position on competitions

Matthew Balin

New judicial step in the conflict between the organizers of the Super League and UEFA. The Mercantile Court number 17 of Madrid has ruled in an order the conclusion of the precautionary measures requested by the first entity after estimating the appeal presented by the European body, which could now be filed if it wishes to Real Madrid, Fútbol Club Barcelona and Juventus of Turin, the three survivors of the Super League project.

The magistrate Sofía Gil, in an 18-page resolution, has accepted UEFA’s opposition against the precautionary measures adopted in the order of April 20, 2021 and has agreed to lift them. You can appeal against this resolution within 20 days before the Provincial Court of Madrid.

This court had granted these precautionary measures in favor of the three clubs that still remain within this project just a year ago, which prevented UEFA and FIFA from imposing any type of sanction or action against the Super League, but now the judicial situation changes radically after the last hearing held on April 1.

UEFA, backed in this process by both the Spanish League (chaired by Javier Tebas) and by the RFEF (led by José Luis Rubiales) and which claimed that the court was not competent, stressed in that hearing the “impossibility” that the Superliga goes ahead, “the abandonment” of most of the clubs that had launched it and the “inactivity” of the three that remained inside.

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These clubs pointed out that the project is “open” and that they still need to be “profiled” and warned that UEFA denied its “reality and virtuality”, but that despite this it had adopted “limiting and restrictive decisions” and also “threats” on possible sanctions.

For her part, the magistrate, in her resolution, considers that “the arguments put forward by the plaintiffs to justify the jurisdiction and competence of this court, would not be correlative with those defended to maintain the requested precautionary measures.”

In addition, it warns of certain contradictions in the plaintiffs, such as stating that “the purpose of the procedure is to decide on free competition and the free development of competitions, which is contradictory with exclusively limiting the purpose of the procedure to the protection of the Super League project, which would be what the precautionary measures would support.”

sports principles

For this reason, he believes that UEFA is right when it defends that its disciplinary bodies and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are the ones that can “decide” on possible sanctions and that it is first that the affected clubs must “oppose” to request “the pertinent protection measures”.

The judge also appreciates UEFA’s arguments about the fact that the Super League is “closed” and goes against sporting principles. In addition, it recognizes the capacity of the European body to organize competitions and admits that it has “a dominant position in the football sports market at a European level”, therefore the only thing that would cause something illegal – it concludes – would be “the abusive exploitation of that position », a circumstance that the magistrate does not appreciate.

In this sense, he recalls that both UEFA and FIFA “have acted in the sports market for years, subject to their own regulations”, something that has been “accepted”, and that he does not see that either has acted in such a way that there is “an infraction in matters of defense of competition”, and that both “are subject to their control and management regulations”.

In addition, the magistrate makes it clear that this control they have over the organization of competitions “does not determine ‘per se’ an abuse of their position of dominance” and that it is “reasonable and justified” that they request authorization for alternative competitions in the face of “equality of opportunities” between the clubs and “sporting merit”.

In this sense, the magistrate Sofía Gil rejects the allegation of the Super League that UEFA brings together “commercial and regulatory functions”, since “a priori it does not reveal an abuse either, but rather derives from the very structure of the sports market”.

Regarding the possible sanctions that the continental body could carry out, the opinion argues that “there is no evidence that the threat and imposition of sanctions on the three remaining clubs entails the necessary impossibility of executing the project, whose financing is independent.”

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