Real Madrid and Barcelona plus Juventus lose European Super League legal battle

The three remaining European Super League sides have been dealt a hammer blow to their hopes of getting the competition off the ground.

La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona plus Serie A side Juventus have plowed on with plans for a breakaway league despite nine of the original 12 teams pulling out in April 2021 following major fan backlash.

They claimed that UEFA and FIFA were breaking competition law by threatening to sanction clubs and players. But a senior legal adviser to the European Court of Justice has said the governing bodies of European and world football are within their rights to do so.

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Advocate general Athanasios Rantos ruled on Thursday (December 15): "The FIFA-UEFA rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with EU competition law.

"Whilst ESLC is free to set up its own independent football competition outside the UEFA and FIFA ecosystem, it cannot however, in parallel with the creation of such a competition, continue to participate in the football competitions organised by FIFA and UEFA without the prior authorisation of those federations."

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Advocate generals routinely provide legal guidance to the ECJ, and while their opinions aren't binding on the Luxembourg-based court, they are followed in most cases. A final ruling is expected in spring 2023.

UEFA welcomed the news about the plans, which initially included six Premier League teams – Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal – as well as AC Milan and Inter Milan in Italy and Atletico Madrid in Spain.

They described it as "an encouraging step towards preserving the existing dynamic and democratic governance structure of the European football pyramid".

Real president Florentino Perez was believed to be the mastermind behind the project, with Barca president Joan Laporta was also a strong supporter.

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