European Super League clubs start legal action to prevent Uefa and Fifa from blocking plans

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Simon Collings
·5-min read
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 (Evening Stadnard)
(Evening Stadnard)

The clubs launching a European Super League are ready to take legal action against Fifa and Uefa if they try to stop them from creating their new breakaway competition.

News of the new league was announced late on Sunday night and it would represent the biggest shake-up in the history of European club football.

Under the proposals, the Premier League’s ‘big six’ - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham - would join six other teams - AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid - in forming a new midweek competition.

The announcement has sparked outrage from Uefa and domestic leagues, with the new Super League viewed as a direct threat to the future of the game.

The Premier League and Uefa have vowed to fight the new Super League’s creation and it now looks set to escalate into a legal battle. Uefa confirmed on Sunday they would consider “all measures available” to stop the clubs — and that includes judicial ones.

The 12 European clubs pursuing a Super League have now written to Fifa and Uefa explaining that legal action is already being pursued to stop them from thwarting the launch of the breakaway competition.

The letter was sent by the group of English, Spanish and Italian clubs to Fifa president Gianni Infantino and Uefa counterpart Aleksander Ceferin, saying the Super League has already been underwritten by funding of £3.5billion by JP Morgan.

“We are concerned that FIFA and UEFA may respond to this invitation letter by seeking to take punitive measures to exclude any participating club or player from their respective competitions,” the Super League clubs wrote to Infantino and Ceferin.

“Your formal statement does, however, compel us to take protective steps to secure ourselves against such an adverse reaction, which would not only jeopardize the funding commitment under the grant but, significantly, would be unlawful.

“For this reason, SLCo (Super League Company) has filed a motion before the relevant courts in order to ensure the seamless establishment and operation of the competition in accordance with applicable laws.”

The prospect of a Super League is nothing new but in the past it has always been viewed as a threat by clubs to gain more power. But the public nature of the announcement this time has shown the seriousness of the move, with Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham resigning from the European Club Association (ECA) on Monday morning.

The ECA represent the interests of clubs competing in Uefa competitions and the clubs had been working with them to launch a new format for the Champions League from 2024.

Uefa were, as of Monday morning, still planning to announce those changes later, with the new format involving 36 clubs instead of 32.

Uefa are adamant that they will stop the launch of the Super League, warning clubs could be banned from domestic competition and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

The Premier League also held an emergency board meeting on Sunday as they came to terms with the news.

The Premier League are determined to stop the launch of the Super League, but the money on offer in the new competition is exceptionally lucrative to those involved.

The Super League plan offers incentives of up to £303 million per club to 15 permanent members to join, with five other teams invited to take part every year. Currently there are 12 permanent member clubs, but the plan would be to recruit three more.

The money on offer is a significant cash boost to the clubs involved, who have all been hit hard by the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Clubs were already seeing the possible benefits of the new League as early as Monday morning, with Juventus’s shares surging by 10 per cent. Those involved, however, were receiving a heavy backlash from those within and outside the game.

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight said on Monday: “This is a dark day for football – a deal done behind closed doors apparently with no regard for supporters.

“Though this idea was mooted several months ago, what’s shocking is the speed at which this breakaway league has been announced.

“What’s needed is a fan-led review of football with real teeth and here we have more evidence to strengthen the case for it.

“Football needs a reset, but this is not the way to do it. The interests of community clubs must be put at the heart of any future plans.

“We, the Committee, will be discussing this when we meet tomorrow in a private session.”

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who now works for Fifa as their chief of global football development, has also criticised the proposals put forward.

“Well I would say that’s a bad idea,” he told talkSPORT.

“Football has to stay united, that’s the most important thing, and based on sporting merit and to overall respect the history that has been built through European history.

“I believe, personally, that this idea will not go far. I don’t know what is going on, but that doesn’t change what I think.

“I believe for me what is most important is that I tried my whole life to keep unity in the game and that football is played the same all over the world.

“Absolutely we all have to fight to keep football simple, understandable and based on merit - that everybody has the same chance and dream to be successful.”

Players have voiced their fears too, with former Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil tweeting: “The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there.”

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