UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid over their involvement in the proposed European Super League (ESL).
Disciplinary cases against the three clubs that are yet to officially withdraw from the Super League could lead to bans for them from the UEFA Champions League.
Europe’s football governing body UEFA are prosecuting the 3 remaining founders of the breakaway league after 9 teams decided to withdraw their participation earlier this year, including all six English teams that were originally a part of it.
Proceedings are now active for “a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework”, the UEFA announced on Tuesday.
In the statement released, UEFA said: “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.
UEFA gave no timetable for the expected disciplinary cases against the three which have all qualified on merit for the Champions League next season stating: “Further information will be made available in due course.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warned the clubs last month that “if they say we are a Super League, then they don’t play Champions League, of course”.
Any bans for the clubs – and elevation of other Spanish and Italian teams to replace them – would likely lead to appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and pressure to resolve the cases before next season’s European competitions begin.
With the European Championship due to start, UEFA has a short turnaround time this season so it will be interesting to see how things unfold.
The other nine clubs involved – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid – have already been punished for their participation in the Super League but were “forgiven” by the UEFA with a small penalty for withdrawing their participation.
These clubs have agreed to make a combined 15m euro (£13.4m) goodwill contribution to benefit children’s and grassroots football across Europe. They will also have 5% of UEFA competition revenues withheld for one season, starting from 2023-24, and this money will be redistributed.
Each of these teams has also committed to UEFA and its competitions, with the clubs facing fines of 100m euros (£86.9m) each, if they seek to join an unauthorised competition in the future. They will be fined half that if they breach any other terms of the declaration as well so these teams are being kept on their toes.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was appointed as chairman of the ESL, recently said that the 12 clubs that agreed to join the project have “binding contracts” and “cannot leave”.
The Super League project was officially launched on April 18, 2021, but then succumbed within 48 hours amid protests from fans, the media and threats of legislation by the British government.
Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid have begun legal action in a Madrid court against the UEFA as well as FIFA – football’s world governing body.