Dhe makers of the European Super League (ESL), which collapsed in the spring, are going on the political offensive. After the Super League proclaimed by twelve European top clubs in April, of which nine founding members withdrew after a few days, had recently received legal tailwind from a judgment by a Spanish commercial court, the group is now trying through the European Parliament and the EU Commission to increase the pressure on the European Football Union (UEFA).
In one of the eight-page so-called non-papers available to the FAZ, which is aimed at MEPs and the EU Commission under the title “Rethinking the future of European football”, the Super League pursues a dual strategy. On the one hand, it announced that the much-criticized sporting format would be changed and the previous concept of permanent membership would be abandoned. On the other hand, UEFA is being attacked sharply in a legally differentiated presentation, not least in its role in the European legal system. Experts in European football see this as a “frontal attack” on UEFA.
In diplomatic circles, a non-paper is a document that is distributed informally in order to check whether proposals have been accepted. It is not an official document and, as usual in these cases, this letter does not contain either a letterhead or a signature. In essence, the paper is about the fact that the Super League demands, like every large national and commercially successful league, to be able to organize itself outside of the umbrella organization in an independent form.
Super League announces its own reform
In Germany, roughly speaking, this would be comparable to the former establishment of the German Football League (DFL), a legal framework that, from the perspective of the Super League, would now have to be expanded from the national to the European area. In addition, the Super League, which currently only Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Juventus Turin officially adhere to, demands legal protection from the European courts against UEFA. As a competition guardian and organizer of a purely commercial competition, the new league has so far forbidden and threatened the clubs involved with sanctions – also for future projects.
In the paper circulating among MEPs, the corresponding demands of the Super League read: “Official recognition of the league by FIFA / UEFA; or, alternatively, adequate legal protection before European courts under conditions that would enable clubs to compete in both the Super League and their national leagues and domestic cup competitions ”. With this “legally binding condition”, the Super League wants to show that it has “a clear desire to work within the existing football system and to remain connected to the national competitions”.
The project was largely misunderstood in April, and it still is. The new Super League is not a “breakaway” league, not a split-off league, but its opposite. And in view of the protests of many fans in their project, the Super League has announced its own reform: “We will eliminate the concept of permanent membership and be open to all European clubs.”