Super League triggers judicial earthquake for EU

By Javier Albisu

Brussels/Geneva, Jun 4 (EFE).- The creation of a European ‘Super League’ to rival the Champions League and the subsequent potential exclusion from Uefa competitions hanging over Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have made it to the European Court of Justice as a legal case that could upend EU law with ramifications deeper than those of the Bosman ruling.

Whereas the famous 1995 ruling that made EU footballers equal in legal terms to regular workers “only” brought about the liberalization of the labour market, the courtroom battle over the Super League will encompass the whole multimillionaire business that controls European football.

The Super League dossier could transcend competition law and even call into question the scope of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union in relation to sports, according to multiple experts who have laid out various scenarios on how the case could play out.

After announcing the conception of the Super League in April, its 12 founding clubs — Atlético Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Inter Milan, and AC Milan, in addition to the aforementioned trio —  all requested protection from the commercial court of Madrid.

The defense of the Super League is led by the Clifford Chance law firm, with assistance from Belgian expert Martin Hissel and from the Roca Junyent external adviser Jean-Louis Dupont, the mind behind the Bosman and the Meca-Medina rulings.

Justice Manuel Ruiz de Lara’s preliminary ruling banned any Uefa or Fifa sanctions to clubs or players involved as long as the court proceedings are not over.

Despite this, Uefa announced in late May it was opening disciplinary proceedings against Madrid, Barça and Juventus, the three clubs that did not back out from the project.

The amicable way out of the conflict would need willingness to talk from Uefa and the European Commission stepping into the fray as a mediator to broker a balanced deal between the parties, according to attorney Sébastien Engelen.

Engelen won a similar lawsuit pitting the Belgian Competition Authority against the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

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