GRAHAM DUNBARAP Sports Writer
Geneva (AP) — More than half of the European Union member states formally oppose the football super league project in the European Court of Justice, UEFA said Wednesday.
Of the 27 EU member states, 16 have filed in writing with the league in court in Luxembourg by the Monday deadline. The court was asked by a judge in Madrid to find out if UEFA and FIFA have exclusive control over the sport.
According to UEFA, 16 countries include Spain and Italy. The home country of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, the team leading the legal battle of 12 club super league companies.
Germany is also expected to oppose the Super League.
The European Court of Justice will hold a hearing in the first half of next year. The verdict may take several more months.
EU member states want to protect the “European sports model” that gives football an exemption from competition law. This model defends the role it plays in European life when elite and grassroots sports are part of the same pyramid competition and are open to all through promotion and demotion.
The Super League project, announced in April but soon collapsed, was to break away from the Champions League and host its own 20-team tournament. Fifteen clubs invited from the five wealthiest football markets in Europe would have protected their status and the other five locations would have been open to other clubs.
Twelve former Super League members have also filed proceedings in a commercial court in Madrid against the football governing body. The club opposes three roles: UEFA and FIFA as football regulators, commercial operators with their own competitions, and gatekeepers with the authority to limit rivals.
The Super League project was completed within 48 hours, but the court battle continues in their name after six British clubs withdrew in the face of fierce backlash from fans and politicians.
A judge in Madrid called on the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to investigate the football organization’s authority to host competitions and the right to sanction challengers for that authority.
In May, UEFA announced a settlement agreement with nine withdrawn Super League members. This included millions of dollars in fines and forfeiture of future prizes, as well as larger fines for participating in similar projects.
UEFA said last month that it invalidated these settlements while waiting for a European proceeding, but that disciplinary action could be reinstated after the ruling.
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Many European States Support UEFA in Super League Proceedings | World News
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