Tuesday, November 30, 2021

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

The Council of the European Union says open competition must be a cornerstone of sport on the continent, appearing to strike a blow to any hope of Super League plans being resurrected.

UEFA welcomed the Council’s approval of a resolution on the key features of a European sports model, describing it as a rejection of “closed competitions” like the Super League.

The key features of a European sports model should include a pyramidal structure, one federation per sport, solidarity with lower-tier levels in addition to the promotion of open competition, the Council said.

“This resolution comes against the backdrop of increasing commercialisation of professional sport, which is making sport increasingly profit-oriented,” a Council statement said.

“Although this contributes to the creation of financial resources for a greater number of athletes, it is not without risk for the values of sport.

“The resolution considers that sport should be based on values such as good governance, safety, integrity, solidarity and the health and safety of athletes.”

The Super League was launched with 12 founder members – including the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ – in April but had collapsed within 72 hours amid fan outrage and opposition from FIFA, UEFA and even the British Government.

Chelsea fans place a grave headstone outside the ground
The Super League was launched in April but quickly collapsed amid fan outrage (Steve Parsons/PA)

One of the major criticisms was the closed nature of the competition – 15 founder members would be protected from relegation and joined by five extra clubs per season.

The clubs who still support the concept of the Super League – Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid – are involved in a legal battle with UEFA.

They succeeded in securing an injunction from a Madrid court preventing UEFA from sanctioning the clubs involved.

The same court has asked the European Court of Justice to establish whether UEFA and FIFA breached EU competition law in blocking the creation of the league, and trying to sanction its members.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the resolution from the EU Council
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the resolution from the EU Council (Nick Potts/PA)

In reaction to the Council resolution, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “This is a landmark statement of intent from the EU member states; there can be no doubt left that Europe and European sport will succeed in protecting and promoting our European Sport Model.

“We now have a long-term plan of action at the European level to defend a values-driven, socially embedded, and open vision of European sport.

“With this backing for our model, European football will continue to be the leading example of this.”

Sources close to the Super League remain confident of succeeding in the action against UEFA and say plans are being worked on for a new competition with open promotion and relegation, and based on performance in domestic leagues.

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