European Super League

The existence of The Super League a week ago ended abruptly as it was hastily announced. As overwhelming opposition to the idea of 12 European clubs breaking away from the UEFA Champions League prompted many owners of the concerned clubs to backtrack on their plans to go forward with the project.

There was strong disapproval from governments, ex-players, pundits, and stakeholders as fans protested against their clubs’ involvement in the scheme which would deter the competitive nature of the beautiful game in Europe. 

Par for the course, the six English clubs involved began to announce their withdrawal from the rogue project 48 hours after it was officially pioneered. And have since issued statements of apology to their fans.

JP Morgan, the American investment bank to finance the plan, has pulled out their £3.5billion backing of the project, claiming they “misjudged” the reaction of fans to the scheme.

Betway Nigeria

However, Real Madrid and Barcelona officially remain in the tournament, insisting the plans simply cannot go away and their efforts are legally backed. 

According to a specialist lawyer, this initial fiasco might have paved the way for The Super League to go through in the near future.

Florentino Perez, who was set to head the Super League operations told Spanish radio show El Larguero: ‘If anyone thinks the Super League is dead, are they wrong? Absolutely.

‘We’re going to keep working and what everyone thinks is for the best will emerge.

‘The project is on standby. The Super League still exists.’

He has since doubled down, saying on Friday night: ‘I’m not going to explain now what a binding contract is… But the clubs can’t leave. 

Could the ESL sensationally return?

Arsenal fans in their protest against the European Super League outside the Emirates Stadium

Amid the debacle of last week, significant progress was made on the legal principles that have inhibited the creation of a breakaway league for years – and make its re-emergence more likely, say lawyers.

The interim judgement the European Super League obtained in a Madrid court on the very eve of its collapse, is seen as a big step towards confirming the right for a breakaway to exist and rival the established competitions run by UEFA and FIFA.

Furthermore, it challenges the dominance of the football governing bodies than any previous attempts.

‘With more cases like this we always get a step further and this is a crucial step,’ said Mark Orth, of MEOlaw based in Munich, a specialist sports competition lawyer.

‘The legal process in Madrid and the interim judgement makes it much easier to form a Super League in the future than it has been in the past.

‘It is really significant what the court has decided and it will have ramifications in the future.

‘It actually opens the path to a Super League, so it is a big step.’

When it emerged earlier this year that plans for a Super League were well advanced, football’s governing bodies declared they would exclude clubs from domestic leagues and ban participating players from representing their countries.

However, in Madrid, the Super League won an interim court order banning UEFA and FIFA from making more threats or doing anything to intimidate the breakaway league or any of its participants.

The order made clear that the judge believed the football bodies had abused their position under competition law and clubs are free to create rival competitions.

According to Orth, who advises Europe’s top clubs on sports competition law matters, the decision is consistent with other court rulings in European sport.

Indeed, the framework for a more robust European Super League bid next time has already been laid.

The ruling is only an interim order, however, so UEFA and FIFA will be invited to give their defence at a future date should the ESL not withdraw its claim.

‘I assume the football authorities will challenge the decision, or they already have,’ said Orth.

‘But I think there is more than a good prospect that the Super League will win that case.’

Manchester United
Football was United in its disapproval of the Super League, and Man United fans are protesting against their club owners.

Thus far, UEFA’s new format for the Champions League starting 2024 includes more teams and more games for clubs who have furiously complained about the governing body’s unfair scheduling of games.

Players and managers are in disagreement with more fixtures and Jürgen Klopp and İlkay Gündoğan have already voiced their disapproval of the new format. Could that open up the opportunity for a revised and reformed Super League?

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
April 24, 2021
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Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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