Rebel clubs to press on with Super League after court ruling

MADRID (AP) — Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid vowed to press on with the European Super League project on Friday after a court ruled against what the clubs called “UEFA’s threats.”

A Spanish court on Friday threw out an appeal by UEFA against the decision this month to unwind the actions taken against all of the 12 Super League founding clubs.

The three remaining clubs not to abandon the Super League plan — Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus — released a joint statement welcoming the court’s decision against “UEFA’s monopolistic position over European football” and reiterated their stance to continue planning a breakaway competition.

“We are pleased that going forward we will no longer be subject to ongoing UEFA’s threats,” they said in the statement.

“Our aim is to keep developing the Super League project in a constructive and cooperative manner, always counting on all football stakeholders: Fans, players, coaches, clubs, leagues, and national and international associations.”

The clubs were even more scathing toward UEFA.

“We have the duty to address the very serious issues facing football,” they said. “UEFA has established itself as the sole regulator, exclusive operator, and unique owner of rights of European football competitions.

“This monopolistic position, in conflict of interest, is damaging football and its competitive balance. As shown by ample evidence, financial controls are inadequate, and they have been improperly enforced. Clubs participating in European competitions have the right to govern their own competitions.”

A ruling by the mercantile court in Madrid on July 1, made on request by the Super League, declared null a battery of disciplinary measures that nine of the 12 clubs behind the Super League agreed to in May after a backlash against the proposed league.

The court ordered UEFA to rescind the agreement that the nine clubs — Atlético Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham — signed to give up 5% of revenue for one season playing in Europe.

It also voided the combined payment of 15 million euros ($17.8 million) by the nine clubs for what UEFA called a “gesture of goodwill,” as well as the pledge made by the nine that they would accept a fine of 100 million euros ($118 million) if they seek again to play in an unauthorized competition.

The three remaining clubs confirmed that had been upheld by Friday’s ruling.

“The court backs the request made by the promoters of the European Super League, dismisses UEFA’s appeal, and confirms its warning to UEFA that failure to comply with its ruling shall result in fines and potential criminal liability,” they said in the statement.

“The case will be assessed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which shall review UEFA’s monopolistic position over European football.”

The proposed league — a largely closed midweek competition — collapsed within days of its April unveiling after being abandoned by the six English clubs amid a backlash from their supporters and warnings from the British government that legislation could be introduced to thwart it.

“We are aware that there are elements of our proposal that should be reviewed and, of course, can be improved through dialogue and consensus,” the statement concluded.

“We remain confident in the success of a project that will be always compliant with European Union laws.”

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