Arsenal no longer face a financial penalty for their role in the failed launch of the proposed European Super League.
Back in May, the Gunners along with eight of the other 12 clubs involved – Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Sp*rs, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid – acknowledged the project was a mistake and accepted small fines.
The punishment was made up of a goodwill gesture to grassroots football – a total of €15 million shared collectively – and the withholding of 5% of future revenue generated by single participation in a UEFA competition. The English contingent also accepted a suspended £20 million fine and points deduction by the Premier League should they involve themselves in any such project in the future.
Three clubs, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona, refused to play ball with UEFA and went to court in Spain where it was subsequently ruled that they could not be punished by Switzerland-based UEFA and FIFA, who had threatened to ban them from European competition. The case was also notified by the Madrid-based judge to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
As a result of the judgment in Spain, UEFA has decided not to pursue a potentially drawn-out and costly legal case the trio and yesterday confirmed: “The UEFA Appeals Body has declared today the proceedings null and void.”
The statement added: “UEFA maintains its view that it has always acted in accordance with not only its statutes and regulations, but also with EU law, the European Convention on Human Rights and Swiss law in connection with the so-called Super League project. Uefa remains confident in and will continue to defend its position in all the relevant jurisdictions.
“UEFA will continue to take all necessary steps, in strict accordance with national and EU law, in order to defend the interests of Uefa and of all football stakeholders.”
While the proposed punishments were, at best, token, they at least reinforced that the Super League had gone against supporter sentiment (while simultaneously making UEFA look strong).
Whether the decision in Spain will embolden Europe’s biggest clubs to start plotting another breakaway remains to be seen. It seems likely that the English contingent will keep their heads down for a while as they look to rebuild trust with their customers. The same can’t be said for some of the other clubs. For months now, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has insisted his Super League dreams are not dead.