Real Madrid and Barcelona celebrate the European Super League’s victory against UEFA and FIFA as the Spanish giants call out organisations’ ‘MONOPOLY’ while backing a revival of plans for the rebel competition

Barcelona and Real Madrid have responded favourably to the European Court of Justice’s ruling that UEFA and FIFA had acted in contravention of EU competition law in sanctioning the rebel European Super League clubs. 

The ruling handed out on Thursday was the latest stage in a legal process against the governing bodies sparked by the European Super League Company in the wake of being threatened with sanctions following their April 2021 announcement of the breakaway contest. 

Plans to launch a new European competition were met with almost universal criticism from supporters and stakeholders including then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson for its ‘closed’ nature, and within 72 hours of the news breaking, nine of the 12 clubs involved – and all English would-be participants – had withdrawn from the plans. 

In February, A22, the company formed both to sponsor and assist in the European Super League’s creation, announced they had renewed plans for a new league in a different form to the initial 20-team tournament, instead focusing plans on a multi-division league. 

The ECJ’s ruling deemed UEFA and FIFA’s actions ‘contrary to EU law’ and will send the case back to the Madrid-based court where it originated for the next stage in a lengthy battle between the warring franchises.  

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was among the first to speak out following the verdict

Barcelona president Joan Laporta was similarly delighted with Thursday's landmark ruling

Barcelona president Joan Laporta was similarly delighted with Thursday’s landmark ruling

The ECJ deemed actions taken by FIFA and UEFA following the announcement of a European Super League to be in contravention of EU law

The ECJ deemed actions taken by FIFA and UEFA following the announcement of a European Super League to be in contravention of EU law

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona remain wholly in favour of the breakaway plans and were quick to express their delight in Thursday’s verdict, with the Catalan giants detailing their ‘satisfaction’ with the turn of events. 

‘As one of the clubs driving the Super League project, FC Barcelona feels that the sentence paves the way for a new elite level football competition in Europe by opposing the monopoly over the football world, and wishes to initiate new discussions as to the path that European competitions should take in the future,’ the statement read. 

‘Since it was founded in 1899, FC Barcelona has always been a pioneering club in the world of sport, leading the drive towards more professionalised structures both on a domestic and international scale, with regard to both men’s and women’s competitions, in a variety of sports and from different social concerns. 

‘Hence, as it has been maintaining in recent years, the club feels that the medium-term sustainability of European football entails the need create a concept along the lines of the Super League proposed by A22. 

‘A system of competition that will address such issues as fixture overload and the excessive number of games between national teams, that will work towards regulation of financial fair play among participating teams, and that will put local and international players and supporters at the centre. 

‘This system must respect the functions and sustainability of domestic competitions and should be a meritocracy that is primarily based on results on the pitch.

‘In a year when the club is celebrating its 125th anniversary, Barca wishes to continue to offer its experience and knowledge of different sports to propose solutions for current issues in elite sport,’ the missive continued. 

‘That is why it is declaring its support for the Super League promoted by A22 and encourages constructive debate among both domestic and international football bodies, which have now been endorsed by today’s sentence by the Court of Justice of the European Union. 

‘The foregoing is all subject to a complete reading of the sentence.’

The club’s president’s Joan Laporta added that ‘European Justice agrees with us. There is a monopoly situation.

‘A historic opportunity opens up to solve some of the serious problems that compromise the clubs.’

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez also called out a ‘monopoly’ in his statement which lauded the verdict with ‘tremendous satisfaction’.

News of the planned league were met with widespread uproar from fans and stakeholders

News of the planned league were met with widespread uproar from fans and stakeholders

The Premier League 'Big Six' clubs including Chelsea all withdrew involvement after 72 hours

The Premier League ‘Big Six’ clubs including Chelsea all withdrew involvement after 72 hours

The widespread April 2021 protests were seen as a rejection of the league's 'closed' nature

The widespread April 2021 protests were seen as a rejection of the league’s ‘closed’ nature

‘In the coming days, we will study the scope of this resolution in great detail but I can reflect on two conclusions of historic significance’, Perez said in front of a wall of the club’s European trophies. 

‘Firstly, European club football will no longer be a monopoly. Secondly, as of today, clubs will have their fate in their own hands. The clubs have been fully acknowledged in our right to create and promote European competitions that will modernise our sport and appeal to fans around the world. Ultimately, today has been another triumph for a Europe of freedom, and for football and its fans.

‘Faced with the pressure we have been subject to for more than two years, today law, justice and liberty have come to the fore. As a result of this, Real Madrid will continue to work for the good of football.

‘Just as we took a crucial step in footballing history almost seventy years ago with the creation of the European Cup, today we once again have the duty and responsibility of providing European football the boost it so desperately needs. 

‘To do so, we will continue to champion a modern project that is fully compatible with domestic competitions, open to all, based on sporting merit, and which will be imposed effectively as regards financial fair play. It is a project that will bring financial sustainability for all clubs and, first and foremost, one which will protect the players and excite fans across the globe.

‘We will make it happen despite the campaigns we have suffered, which will likely intensify starting today. But nobody said that bringing an end to a decades-long monopoly would be easy.

‘We are faced with a fantastic opportunity to improve European club football. A game that matches the demands of the 21st century and one that boasts transparent governance and can coexist alongside new technologies; the game that can once again ignite the passion and emotion the fans need.

‘Allow me to tell the European clubs that we are at the dawn of a new era that will allow us to work freely, on the basis of constructive dialogue, without threats, without acting against anything or anyone, and with the aim of innovating and modernising football in order to continue sustaining the fans’ passions,’ the president continued. 

‘Starting today, the present and the future of European football are in the hands of the clubs, the players and the fans. Our destiny now belongs to us and we have a great responsibility in our hands.

‘This day marks a turning point. It is a great day in the history of football and sport in general.’

Thursday’s ruling came as somewhat of a surprise in light of advice given to the court by Advocate General Athanasios Rantos in December 2022, which found that European Union competition law was in fact compatible with the restrictions doled out by UEFA and FIFA to the rebel clubs.

However, the judgement did not go so far as to advise against the formation of a similar league.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas said that ruling had merely confirmed what was already known

LaLiga president Javier Tebas said that ruling had merely confirmed what was already known

The court opted against taking the advice of the Advocate General in December of last year

The court opted against taking the advice of the Advocate General in December of last year

‘(The verdict on EU competition laws) does not mean that a competition such as the Super League project must necessarily be approved,’ the court noted, in an addition to the verdict that was seized upon by both UEFA and LaLiga in their subsequent statements. 

‘This ruling does not signifiy an endorsement or validation of the so-call “super league”,’ UEFA’s statement read, stating that it had instead underscored ‘a historical shortfall within UEFA’s pre-authorisation framework, a technical aspect that has already been acknowledged and addressed in June 2022’

‘UEFA remains resolute in its commitment to uphold the European football pyramid, ensuring that it continues to serve the broader interest of society. We will continue to shape the European sports model collectively with national associations, leagues, clubs, fans, players, coaches, EU institutions, governments and partners alike.’

In the statement issued by LaLiga, the Spanish league argued that ‘although the promoters of the Super League claim that this judgement is in their favour, the reality is that the CJEU has been clear in stating that it “does not mean that a competition such as the Super League project must necessarily by approved”.’

President Javier Tebas similarly brushed off bombast from the supposed victors in the case, saying: ‘The ruling confirms what we have always said: anyone can organise competitions outside of the UEFA and FIFA ecosystems, this cannot be prohibited and no one has questioned this. 

‘The judicial question is the condition for these competitions to be under the UEFA and FIFA ecosystem, i.e. that there must be transparent, clear, and objective rules for the approval of new competitions. In 2022, UEFA already established a procedure to authorise new competitions that can be used by the European Super League or any other competition.’

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Valencia were among the first clubs in Spain to align themselves with the country's top flight

Valencia were among the first clubs in Spain to align themselves with the country’s top flight

The statement from the Spanish top flight added that the creation of such a league was ‘designed to enrich the wealthies clubs and concentrate power in the hands of a small number of privileged teams.

LaLiga argued that as a result, there would be a ‘loss of tens of thousands of jobs’ and the league would ‘drastically reduce tax revenues for public coffers across the continent’.  

Within hours of the verdict, clubs in Spain began aligning themselves with their league, offering a public rejection of the breakaway league’s concept. 

Valencia’s social media account reposted a graphic stating that clubs should ‘earn it on the pitch’ with the accompanying words as a hashtag. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk