On Thursday (21 December), the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered its final judgment on the breakaway European Super League project established in defiance of Europe’s football governing body UEFA.
The ECJ’s 15-judge grand chamber found that FIFA and UEFA are “abusing a dominant position” in seeking to set conditions on how potential rival tournament organisers may access the market.
Any such gatekeeper power over rival operators must be subject to “transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate” criteria, the court held, to allay conflicts of interest on the part of the sports governing bodies.
Counter to an advocate general’s opinion earlier this year, the court also dismissed the notion that an exemption from competition rules for sport should apply to the case, finding that the organisation of interclub football competitions and the exploitation of the media rights were “quite evidently, economic activities”.
The court stressed that its finding did not constitute an endorsement of the Super League project, however.