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Other SportsManchester United commit to UEFA competition after ECJ ruling on European Super...

Manchester United commit to UEFA competition after ECJ ruling on European Super League

Manchester United say their “position is unchanged” following today’s ruling that stated UEFA and FIFA acted unlawfully to prevent a European Super League in 2021.

United initially signed up to the breakaway league with 11 other clubs but the threat of sanctions from UEFA, as well as a ferocious backlash from supporters, meant all but two – Barcelona and Real Madrid – subsequently pulled out.

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ECJ rules against UEFA and FIFA

The verdict from the European Court of Justice, and a renewed push by ESL backers A22, means the subject is back on the agenda but United say they are committed to the current structure.

A club statement read: “Our position has not changed. We remain fully committed to participation in UEFA competitions, and to positive cooperation with UEFA, the Premier League, and fellow clubs through the ECA on the continued development of the European game.”

United belong to the ECA, the European Clubs Association, and it says “major progressive governance reforms have already been put in place” and that the game has “moved on” from talk of a European Super League.

An ECA statement read: “To be absolutely clear, the judgment in no way whatsoever supports or endorses any form of Super League project.

“Since the legal case was brought two years ago, major progressive governance reforms have already been put in place across the ecosystem of football in Europe and worldwide, including new UEFA rules for competition pre-authorisation; and in particular, reforms under ECA’s Memorandum of Understanding and Joint Venture with UEFA, and FIFA (signed in September and March this year). Through ECA, clubs today are already at the heart of decision-making in relation to the competitions they participate in.

“In short, the world of football moved on from the Super League years ago and progressive reforms will continue.

“Most importantly, football is a social contract not a legal contract – all the recognized stakeholders of European and world football – spanning confederations, federations, clubs, leagues, players and fans – stand more united than ever against the attempts by a few individuals pursing personal agendas to undermine the very foundations and basic principles of European football.”

A22 staged a presentation in Madrid earlier today in which they outlined their renewed proposal – a three-tiered format featuring 64 teams on the men’s side and a two-tiered format for the women involving 32 teams.

It would not be a closed shop with promotion and relegation between each tier and the introduction of new teams to replace those relegated from the bottom tier.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have outlined their continued support for the new competition with a Barca statement reading: “As one of the clubs driving the Super League project, FC Barcelona feels that the sentence paves the way for a new elite level football competition in Europe by opposing the monopoly over the football world, and wishes to initiate new discussions as to the path that European competitions should take in the future.”

There is likely to be little appetite from Premier League clubs, however, given the strength of opposition from supporters two years ago.

A statement from the Football Supporters Association read: “As our friends at Football Supporters Europe point out – there is no place for an ill-conceived breakaway super league.

“Supporters, players and clubs have already made clear they don’t want a stitched-up competition – we all want to see the trigger pulled on the walking dead monstrosity that is the European Zombie League.

“While the corpse might continue to twitch in the European courts, no English side will be joining. The incoming independent regulator will block any club from competing in domestic competition if they join a breakaway super league.

“Success must be earned on the pitch, not stitched up boardrooms.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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