UEFA and FIFA face off against the rebellious European Super League at a hearing before a top EU court

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Football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA will next week try to convince Europe’s highest court that they have the right to stop clubs from joining a breakaway league and to fine players in a case that could break their monopoly and lucrative media rights.

The dispute between UEFA, FIFA and the European Super League has implications for other sports, clubs and players who are eyeing lucrative offers from rebel groups hoping to make money in relatively short careers.

The European Super League, announced last April, collapsed in less than 48 hours after an outcry from fans, governments and players Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid had forced pulling out.

However, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus remain outliers. The Super League took their complaint to a Spanish court, which then asked the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for advice.

The question is whether certain provisions in the statutes of FIFA and UEFA, which allow them to block competing events, are compatible with EU competition rules against companies or entities that abuse their dominant position.

The ECJ will also have to decide whether the two bodies’ threats to ban clubs and players from participating in the Super League or to ban them from playing national team matches constitute an abuse of power.

UEFA and FIFA’s media rights to the competition will also be another issue for the court during the July 11-12 hearing. A verdict is expected next year or later.

UEFA has previously stated that it remains confident in its position in all relevant jurisdictions. “We are confident that the European Court of Justice will correctly interpret EU competition law and existing precedents,” said a Super League official.

It’s time for system changes, said Mark Orth from the law firm MEOlaw.

“The current monopoly of sports federations, not challenged by competition but reinforced by exclusivity provisions that prevent any form of competition from arising, is the source of numerous adverse developments in the sports world,” he said.

“The question of ownership of media rights is the crucial question in every sport and determines the relationship between the association and the club,” said Orth.

More than 20 European countries and the European Commission support UEFA and FIFA. The case is C333/21 European Superleague Company.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/uefa-and-fifa-to-face-off-with-rebel-european-super-league-at-top-eu-court-hearing-41825507.html UEFA and FIFA face off against the rebellious European Super League at a hearing before a top EU court

Fry Electronics Team

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