By Patrick Kelechi
Daily Courier – UEFA and FIFA will next week seek to convince Europe’s top court that they have the right to block clubs from joining a breakaway league and penalise players.
The dispute between UEFA, FIFA and the European Super League has ramifications for other sports, clubs and players eyeing lucrative deals offered by rebel bodies and hoping to cash in during relatively short careers.
Announced in April last year, the Super League collapsed in less than 48 hours after outcry from fans, governments and players forced Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid to pull out.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, however, are holding out. The Super League took its grievance to a Spanish court, which subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
At issue is whether certain provisions in FIFA and UEFA’s statutes allowing them to block rival events conform with EU competition rules against companies or bodies abusing their dominance.
The CJEU will also have to decide whether the two bodies’ threat to bar clubs and players from taking part in the Super League or ban them from playing in national team matches is an abuse of their power.
UEFA and FIFA’s media rights are also another issue for the Court to consider during the hearing from July 11-12. A ruling is expected next year at the earliest.
UEFA has previously said that it remained confident in its position in all the relevant jurisdictions. “We are confident the European Court of Justice will properly interpret EU competition law and existing precedent,” a representative from the Super League said.