Reactions after the EU's top court ruled FIFA, UEFA defied competition law by blocking Super League

AP , Thursday 21 Dec 2023

Reaction to the European Union’s top court ruling on Thursday that UEFA and FIFA defied competition law by blocking plans for the breakaway Super League:

European Super League
File Photo: A group of supporters hold up a banner critical of the idea of a New European Super League, outside English Premier League club Chelsea s Stamford Bridge stadium in London on April 20, 2021. AFP

 

“We have won the right to compete. European club football is free. The near-70-year UEFA monopoly is finally over, and the court’s decision has far-ranging and positive consequences for football. We will continue working with clubs, leagues and other stakeholders without fear of sanctions to create the best and most fan-centric football competitions in Europe. For the first time since 1955, pan-European competitions can now be governed by the participating clubs themselves as is the case in virtually all European domestic leagues.” — Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22, the company promoting Super League.

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“It has been fully recognized that the clubs have the right to propose and promote European competitions that modernize our sport and attract fans from all over the world. Today a Europe of freedoms has triumphed, and also football and its fans have triumphed. — Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez.

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“The sentence paves the way for a new elite level football competition in Europe by opposing the monopoly over the football world, and wishes to initiate new discussions as to the path that European competitions should take in the future. The club feels that the medium-term sustainability of European football entails the need create a concept along the lines of the Super League proposed by A22.” — Barcelona in a statement.

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“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.” — UEFA in a statement.

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“The world of football moved on from the Super League years ago and progressive reforms will continue. Most importantly, football is a social contract not a legal contract — all the recognized stakeholders of European and world football — spanning confederations, federations, clubs, leagues, players and fans — stand more united than ever against the attempts by a few individuals pursing personal agendas to undermine the very foundations and basic principles of European football.” — European Club Association, which represents Europe’s top football clubs, in a statement.

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“There is no place in European football for a breakaway super league. Our clubs, our competitions, and our local communities need protection. Whatever comes next, the super league remains an ill-conceived project that endangers the future of European football.” — Football Supporters Europe on X, formerly Twitter.

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“Regardless of this ruling, the entire football ecosystem, including players, coaches, leagues, federations, or clubs, have already spoken out loud and clear to say they do not desire a model that perpetuates the participation of a privileged few, restricting the pinnacle of European football to an elite rather than an open sport for all.” — Spanish league in a statement.

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“Our position has not changed. We remain fully committed to participation in UEFA competitions, and to positive cooperation with UEFA, the Premier League, and fellow clubs through the ECA on the continued development of the European game." — Manchester United in a statement.

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“The European football family does not want the European Super League. Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain (except for Real Madrid and Barcelona), etc. They don’t want the Super League. We are in favor of protecting the great family of European football, of protecting the domestic leagues and through them achieving qualification for European competitions on the field of play each season.” — Atletico Madrid in a statement.

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“Nothing can replace the legitimacy, credibility and prestige of European competitions as they have been organized for over 60 years now. We are very attached to the principles of sporting merit which must govern the organization of our sport. If soccer is today the world’s greatest sport, it is precisely because it has created the basis for simple, clear and transparent competitions. Nothing can stand in the way of this intangible principle, which is to give everyone the right to “dream” and reach the top of the sporting pyramid." — French league president Vincent Labrune in a statement.

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“It’s neither a major victory for one side or the other. So no big earthquake, perhaps a yellow card for the governing bodies, UEFA and the other big sports federations, but no red cards. But neither does it mean that the Super League was approved because it wasn’t approved. This can be seen as another chapter in the ongoing haggling and struggle between different interests within European and international football. That’s been going on for decades.” — Alex Phillips, former UEFA and Asian Football Confederation executive.

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