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European football community stands firm against so-called Super League

About UEFA President

In an online press conference responding to Thursday’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgement, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin and stakeholders representing the entire football community underlined their united opposition to the so-called European Super League (ESL).

UEFA press conference, December 2023

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin

"Football remains united. This press conference involving all stakeholders speaking together is evidence of that. We have national governments and institutions behind us.

"There is a stark contrast between the press statement and the judgement. The judgement is actually positive as it embraces the key features of the European football pyramid: open competitions, sporting merit, and solidarity.

"The ECJ has certainly not given green light nor approved project like the so-called Super League. We welcome the clarity that the ECJ has delivered today including an endorsement of pre-authorisation system and UEFA’s dual role as organising and authorising body.

"We became aware that our authorisation system was imperfect, we started to work on that in 2021 and concluded in 2022 with the decision of the UEFA Executive Committee. We are confident that our rules are fully in line with the ECJ judgement. That said we will of course review further after reading the decision in detail and see if we need to implement further changes.

"It is important to stress that the ECJ has endorsed the European sports model, based on sporting merit which can be guaranteed only if all teams enjoy a certain level of equal opportunity. It is also important to note that clubs from many countries – such as England, Germany and France – are prevented from joining a project which is outside the system.

"Of course, UEFA is free to organise its own competitions and exclusively sell the commercial rights. So any competition must fit within the system and comply with our new authorisation rules, and among other requirements must respect sporting merit, the international calendar, and solidarity. Those rules also protect UEFA’s club competitions.

"Football remains united as you see today, well protected from breakaway leagues. Football is not for sale, we showed that many times as stakeholders together. Nothing can change that."

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, European Club Association, Chairman

"Maybe some people haven’t noticed what football has been doing for the last two years. The reform of the competitions, the joint venture between UEFA and the clubs. I don’t see this as a victory for super league at all. This judgement is about legal rules, which have changed.

"We are seeing the same presentations, the same statements talking about freedom – but it’s not about freedom, it’s a closed league. This is a social contract. The clubs are so proud to be partner with UEFA and play in UEFA competitions …. All stakeholders in Europe are working together for the same goal."

Javier Tebas, LALIGA President

"I would like to express our total support for UEFA as the regulator of European football. UEFA has been going for 69 years organising European competitions and European football. Over this period,UEFA has had to adapt to the times, to the changing economic and sporting realities. That is what they have been continually doing with the various stakeholders, and last year created new rules on how to create a new competition."

Pedro Proença, European Leagues, President

"For us this decision of the court doesn’t change our opinion on what should be the format of the European competitions. On behalf of the European leagues we fully believe in the principles of openness and qualification for international competitions through domestic competitions. We believe in the balance between the domestic leagues and the international clubs.

"We remain completely against the Super League model, and are completely committed to maintaining this line along with the other stakeholders. This decision today doesn’t change anything in terms of what we think should be the future of the international competitions."

Ronan Evain, Football Supporters Europe

"From the fan’s side, there’s nothing new. It’s still the same project that we saw two years ago – the same private, closed, money-driven competition. It’s merely repackaging and recycling a terrible idea with no regard to sporting merit.

"The Super League didn’t fail because off the existing regulations at the time – it fell because we were all opposed to the project. We belong to an ecosystem of European football which isn’t perfect but at least there is a set of rules.

"There is no place for breakaways within European football. We were hoping that the circus was behind us. It would be best for European football if they would just give up now."

David Terrier, FIFPRO Europe, President

"Players have already positioned themselves vis-à-vis this project and they are unanimously against it. As Fifpro we represent all players, not just those who would potentially play in a single competition in a fragmented structure.

"I agree with Mr Čeferin that this decision reinforces our shared position, and underlines the importance of sporting merit and the pyramid structure of European football."