Super League: Judge gives green light to UEFA to sanction Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus

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JMadrid 17th Commercial Court judge Sofia Gil Garcia has upheld UEFA’s opposition to the injunction granted in April 2021 regarding the Super League case and agreed to lift the restrictive measures, according to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM).

The judge rendered her decision following the hearing on April 1 with the various parties to decide whether to maintain the precautionary measure, which forced UEFA suspend its disciplinary proceedings against real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventuswho continue to participate in the Super League project.

The court ruling states that “there is not the slightest evidence that the threat and imposition of sanctions against the three remaining clubs results in the necessary inability to carry out the project, the financing of which is independent”, per in relation to the argument that this would frustrate the execution of the project defended by the plaintiffs – A22 Sports Management SL and European Super League Company SL

“There is insistence that the funding would be jeopardized, but the fact is that the partners and the requesting companies are independent legal persons and in any case, at the time of the development of the project, the stakeholders – including the financial institutions – were fully aware of the possible consequences, which did not prevent the adoption of financing commitments, which cannot be assumed or presumed to be frustrated by the possible sanctions”, he adds.

“Sporting merit and equal opportunities must be guaranteed.”

The judge considers the system of prior authorization for alternative competitions by UEFA and Fifa be “reasonable and justified” and “in the interest of preserving equal opportunities for clubs involved in the sports industry”, as the economic capacity of clubs is “very unequal” and this influences the real possibilities of development of a competition, whether it is funded by individual clubs or by third parties, as is the case here.

He adds that “sporting merit and equal opportunities must be guaranteed, which could be undermined by the obvious economic inequalities between participants”. “The huge economic interests that football matches provide to clubs, players and managers present a clear risk for the maintenance and protection of the basic principles of any sport; it is necessary to preserve them in order to prevent the aforementioned economic interest prevails over all of them,” she said.

In this context, the judge maintains that “a mechanism for controlling the competitions likely to be organized is justified, whether by means of prior authorization from the governing bodies or by means of other systems”, so that ” as a precautionary measure, the UEFA prior authorization system, which was not followed in this case, cannot be considered unacceptable.”

The order dismisses the complaint against UEFA‘sand Fifapower abuse

The order rejects this UEFA and Fifa abused their power by combining commercial and regulatory functions, as the complainants claim, and by organizing competitions. “It cannot be admitted as a precautionary measure that the defendants have unjustified and arbitrary cover to prevent the entry of new competitors into the internal football market, which by its object and effect is a restriction of competition”.

Among his arguments to defend UEFATo oppose the maintenance of the injunctions, the judge considers justified “the need for institutions of control, management and organization which must ensure a system in accordance with sporting principles”. “It cannot be inferred that the existing system and control would produce anti-competitive effects, as claimed, without the plaintiffs trying to act in accordance with established channels. On this basis, it has already been stated that all regulations which impose requirements or the respect of conditions can be considered as an obstacle to free competition”, he insists.

The order, which can be appealed against in the Provincial Court of Madrid, was made public 20 days after the hearing to oppose injunctions issued by the court itself a year ago, in which the UEFA ratified its opposition, co-defendants LaLiga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) made the allegations and plaintiffs ESLC and A22 requested that the injunctions be maintained.

Among the precautionary measures, adopted by the former head of the court, Manuel Ruiz de Lara, UEFA and Fifa were ordered, during the main trial, to refrain from any action likely to hinder or impede, directly or indirectly, the development of the Super League and prohibits the threat or taking of any disciplinary action or sanction.

Last July, Ruiz de Lara ordered UEFA to close disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, and to drop ‘disguised sanctions’ against the nine other clubs who resigned from the project – Arsenal, AC Milan, chelsea, Atlético Madrid, Inter, liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

In the case of the latter, he referred to the five percent reduction in income and the contribution to the Solidarity Fund with 15 million euros and the penalty of 100 million euros in the event of non-compliance if they seek to participate in the European Super League.

The preliminary hearing will be held on June 14, according to the judge on April 12, during which she declared Fifa guilty of contempt of court for failing to appear as a co-accused within the time allowed to respond to the lawsuit.

The Super League will appeal

the Super League the organizers will appeal to the Provincial Court of Madrid against the decision of the 17th Commercial Court of Madrid.

Super League Sources have confirmed to EFE that they will appeal to the corresponding body, in this case the Provincial Court of Madrid, against the decision of judge Sofia Gil Garcia known on Thursday.

“If they play other competitions, they won’t play ours.”

Alexandre Ceferin repeatedly threatened to expel the teams playing in the European Super League from UEFA competitions.

“Clubs are free to create their own tournament, but don’t expect to compete in UEFA competitions. I’m tired of this football project,” he said.


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