A judge in Spain has ordered that UEFA and the Premier League scrap all fines issued in the wake of the Super League debacle as they breach an earlier ruling and are contrary to European competition law.
Judge Ruiz de Lara, in his second ruling on the matter in a court in Madrid, was said to be ‘furious’ that UEFA ignored his previous ruling that the football governing body were to take no action against the clubs involved in the attempted European Super League breakaway.
As well as instructing UEFA to allow the three clubs who have yet to withdraw from the European Super League (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus) to compete in the Champions League next season, UEFA were also told to rescind “the disguised sanction consisting of a 5% reduction in revenues and the contribution to the Solidarity Fund of €15m.”
The judge also insisted UEFA and the Premier League should free the remaining nine clubs, including Arsenal, from the agreement they made in the aftermath of their announcement, including “the obligation to proceed to dissolve the European Super League and to put an end to the legal proceedings initiated by it” and “the penalty of €100m in case of breach of the commitments in the agreement and, in particular, if you intend to participate in the Super League for European football.”
“These actions… constitute a flagrant violation of the order… of 20 April 2021,” he said in his latest ruling on Thursday.
“These are not isolated acts (…) but a succession of acts and statements forming part of a strategy devised by the defendants with the aim of provoking the ineffectiveness of a court decision.
“The opening of disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona constitutes a clear breach of the interim measures granted by the Order of 20 April 2021.”
In his first ruling, which the judge stated UEFA and other football federations breached, Ruiz de Lara raised the question of a possible abuse of their dominant position by UEFA and FIFA.
Appeals must be made within five days if any of the instructed parties wish to do that.
No European Super League apology
The rulings from Spain might explain why we are yet to receive the apologies that were promised. At the start of June, it was reported that the nine clubs that had withdrawn from the European Super League would issue a public apology over their involvement, while also promising not to do it again.
Arsenal and the others were fined around £7m by UEFA for their role in trying to form the breakaway league and along, with the Premier League fine, it was around £10.3m in total.
In addition, clubs were to forfeit 5% of their earnings from European football next season, something Arsenal managed to avoid by not being good enough to play in Europe. They also accepted they would be fined €100m each if they were to try anything similar in the future.
The Premier League are also said to be drafting new regulations that will seek to punish any clubs attempting to form a breakaway league in the future, helping to shore up rule L9, which requires clubs to get written permission before joining any new competitions.
One would think that would be in breach of European competition law, too.