Uefa hits back at European Super League after ECJ court ruling

Uefa has said that it remains confident it can continue to uphold the European football pyramid despite a ruling against the body at the European Court of Justice.

The ECJ’s Grand Chamber found that Uefa and Fifa had acted outside of European Union law when blocking the original plans for a European Super League in April 2021.

The proposed breakaway venture quickly collapsed after the withdrawal of six Premier League clubs, who were among 12 original members for a closed shop league. A22 Sports have since revamped their idea to an open competition.

The ECJ’s verdict makes clear that it does not say that the Super League “must be approved”, but instead underlines a need for a “transparent and proportionate” framework that might allow a breakaway venture to be set up.

Uefa claims that this has already been put in place, and European football’s governing body has vowed to protect the “broader interests of society” against any renewed breakaway efforts.

Uefa said in a statement: “This ruling does not signify an endorsement or validation of the so-called ‘super league’; it rather underscores a pre-existing shortfall within Uefa’s pre-authorisation framework, a technical aspect that has already been acknowledged and addressed in June 2022.

“Uefa is confident in the robustness of its new rules, and specifically that they comply with all relevant European laws and regulations.

The European Super League proposals were unpopular with fans

(PA Archive)

“Uefa remains resolute in its commitment to uphold the European football pyramid, ensuring that it continues to serve the broader interests of society. We will continue to shape the European sports model collectively with national associations, leagues, clubs, fans, players, coaches, EU institutions, governments and partners alike.

“We trust that the solidarity-based European football pyramid that the fans and all stakeholders have declared as their irreplaceable model will be safeguarded against the threat of breakaways by European and national laws.”

The six Premier League clubs included in the original proposal were Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.

They walked away from the project after facing significant opposition from supporters.

The proposal and associated issues was a key trigger for the UK government’s fan-led review of football governance, which was guided by Tracey Crouch MP.

Among the recommendations made by the review was for an independent football regulator to be established.

A statement from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said that any English clubs seeking to join a breakaway would be blocked from doing so.

A spokesperson said: “The attempt to create a breakaway competition was a defining moment in English football and was universally condemned by fans, clubs and the Government.

“We took decisive action at the time by triggering the fan-led review of football governance, which called for the creation of a new independent regulator for English football.

“We will shortly be bringing forward legislation that makes this a reality, and will stop clubs from joining any similar breakaway competitions in the future.”