The spectre of the European Super League has resurfaced following a relatively quiet period, with the very real prospect of enforced change to football as we know it. Three clubs from the original twelve founding members had maintained their stance and had not given in and fallen into line by renouncing league membership. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus had instigated legal action against the governing bodies accusing them of illegal behaviour in their desire to punish the new league members and destroy it.
Following the earlier court case UEFA had to put its planned sanctions on hold pending the rebels’ success in a Spanish court and a referral to the European Court of Justice.
The latest court decision has dismissed UEFA’S appeal and has confirmed the earlier ruling that they had to withdraw all threats and impositions of sanctions and fines, this was to apply to all participants, England’s Premier League and Italy’s Serie A. This virtually gives the three clubs the green light to go ahead with ESL preparations, there would be no measures that might hinder the forming of the Super League. Furthermore, the court ruled that those clubs that had left were still considered to be members and the League itself was still active
This ruling would embolden the three clubs to press on with their legal challenges, the other clubs could well be tempted back onto the Super League pitch given that there would be no effective punishments. UEFA had already proved itself unwilling or unable to inflict any more draconian measures on rebels other than derisory minimal fines.The three rebel clubs were still allowed to be part of european competitions.They had already missed that particular boat of club and player bans, giving the impression that football can’t do without the richer clubs who already command massive worldwide merchandising revenue and T.V. rights.
Whilst successful challenges in the courts might encourage teams to get involved in the new league, retaliatory court action by UEFA could well make the issue drag on with appeal after appeal. The status quo would in effect exist. One of the tenets of the ESL case is that UEFA are abusing their position and limiting consumer choice by imposing a monopoly on competition, this is somewhat ironic as entry to the new league is by nomination with no forced relegation of the elite teams. The Super League intends to pad out its structure by smaller clubs being involved in promotion and relegation issues.
Given the pitfalls, delays and challenges it is debatable as to whether the league could ever be viable, the English clubs alone would find it hard to go against the tidal wave of fan opposition. Despite denials it is clear that it is a self generating initiative benefiting the rich under the guise of saving football from bankruptcy.
What would be the implications for football of the introduction of the Super League if court action resulted in them being given the go ahead? Challenges for trophies would become more and more restricted to the wealthy clubs that could afford to fill their teams with the mega talented players. Smaller clubs would be faced with going out of business. The larger wealthy clubs already unsettle players at other clubs and encourage contracts to be broken so that they can ramp up the pressure and sign them