UEFA has initiated disciplinary proceedings against European Super League (ESL) founders Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona, prompting the trio to criticise the governing body’s ‘alarming attitude’ and ‘insistent coercion’.
Making the announcement yesterday, UEFA confirmed that disciplinary proceedings had commenced against the three teams following a two-week investigation. The trio are the only remaining clubs out of the original 12 founders to remain in favour of the breakaway competition.
The UEFA statement read: “Following an investigation conducted by UEFA ethics and disciplinary inspectors in connection with the so-called ‘Super League’ project, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus for a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework.”
The other nine clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United of the Premier League, AC Milan and Inter Milan of Serie A and Atletico Madrid of La Liga – all renewed their commitment to existing international and domestic competitions.
These teams will not face any further disciplinary action, although they have committed to a combined donation of €15 million to support grassroots and children’s football across the continent, whilst 5% of their income derived from UEFA tournaments for one season will be redistributed.
However, the clubs have also been threatened with heavy fines and expulsion from both the respective national and international tournaments should they again pursue an interest in the ESL.
Additionally, the fallout from the breakaway league continues to have ramifications for the English football system, as the DCMS undertakes the government’s review of football.
The Department has established an ‘expert panel’ to support appointed minister Tracey Crouch’s ‘root-and-branch examination of all levels of English football’.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, meanwhile, could be suspended from all European competition for up to two-years, whilst the Italian side may face expulsion from the Serie A, according to league President Gabriele Gravina.
Responding to UEFA’s announcement today, the trio stated: “FC Barcelona, Juventus FC and Real Madrid CF wish to express their absolute rejection of the insistent coercion that UEFA has been maintaining towards three of the most relevant institutions in the history of football.
“This alarming attitude constitutes a flagrant breach of the decision of the courts of justice, which have already made a clear statement warning UEFA to refrain from taking any action that could penalise the founding clubs of the Super League while the legal proceedings are ongoing.
“Therefore, the opening of disciplinary proceedings by UEFA is incomprehensible and is a direct attack against the rule of law that we, the citizens of the European Union, have democratically built up, while constituting a lack of respect toward the authority of the courts of justice themselves.”