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Decoding Judgements: European Superleague Company vs FIFA and UEFA

29 December 2023 | CaseSnappy Team

A close-up image of a person wearing the jersey of Real Madrid CF, a football club that is a key proponent of the European Super League.


Greetings CaseSnappy community! The 'Decoding Judgements' series forges ahead with a rumble on the football field. Today, we lay bare the legal stir around the attempted inception of the European 'Super League'. The case of European Superleague Company SL v FIFA and UEFA plays out the tensions at the intersection of sports law and competition law. So, let's dive in and tackle this one together!

Changing the Game: The Case Facts

The European Superleague Company SL (ESLC) attempted to form the 'Super League', an international football competition poised to challenge existing norms. However, they encountered resistance from FIFA and UEFA, who asserted their exclusive right to organize international football events. Claiming these bodies held an unjust monopoly over football, ESLC took legal action, seeking legal protection for the Super League.

The Competition on the Pitch: The Legal Issues

The crux of the contentious legal debate rested on whether FIFA and UEFA abused their dominance and formed an anticompetitive agreement (Articles 101 and 102 TFEU), thereby infringing on the freedom to set up and play in new football competitions.

The Final Score: Dominance vs Rights

In an enlightening judgement, the Court ruled that FIFA's and UEFA's rules preventing new competitions without their approval constituted an abuse of dominant position and decision by an association to prevent competition. It recognized that such rules are not always transparent, objective, non-discriminatory, and proportionate.

The judgement includes the following key observation from the Court: "..rules which make subject to prior approval the setting up of interclub football competitions ... may benefit from an exemption to the application of Article 101(1) TFEU or be considered justified under Article 102 TFEU only if ... all of the conditions required for those purposes are satisfied." (Paragraph 209)

CaseSnappy: Simplifying The Intricacies Of Judgements

This case highlights the tension between competition law and football's governing bodies and provides important insights into the balance between organizational powers and the freedom to provide new services. Through the 'Decoding Judgements' series, CaseSnappy is committed to clarifying these complex legal contests, making the world of law accessible to our readers.

Stay tuned for our next instalment in the 'Decoding Judgements' series! Sign up to CaseSnappy for free today and enhance your legal research capabilities.

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