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Super League ‘not dead’, says promoter after legal setback

“The Super League is not dead, far from it, it is alive and well,” Bernd Reichart, head of a company set up to promote the breakaway European football competition said Friday.

The comments come a day after the European Court of Justice’s Advocate General said any club involved risked exclusion from FIFA and UEFA.

A22 was set up in October and its CEO Reichart was speaking at an event alongside Florentino Perez and Joan Laporta, the presidents of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

There was no representative of the third holdout club, Juventus, which is without a chairman after the resignation of Andrea Agnelli in November.

The attempt to set up an elite trans-European league in 2021 initially attracted 12 clubs — but triggered a backlash from fans and governments.

The effort fell apart within 48 hours, but left behind bitterness and a key legal question. 

A suit alleging that football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA had abused their power when they threatened to expel clubs or players who joined a proposed Super League is awaiting a verdict from the European Court of Justice.

On Thursday, the court’s Advocate General Athanasios Rantos offered his official view that the Super League clubs could face exclusion from current competitions. 

He said that the clubs could not remain in FIFA and UEFA and at the same time set up an independent competition and that as long as they were part of the ‘ecosystem’ they could be punished by the governing bodies.

“This is a non-binding opinion,” Reichart said. 

“We will continue to work until the judgement. We continue to believe that UEFA cannot be both judge and party, both the organiser who regulates the competition and who regulates access to the market. 

“In recent weeks we have had conversations with more than 30 clubs in more than 10 countries and they share our diagnosis that reforms are needed in the attractiveness of competitions, such as financial ‘fair play’ and governance. 

“Clubs want to own their own destiny.”

A22 is represented by London-based law firm Clifford Chance.

“The Court of Justice “recognised that anyone can organise competitions”, said Luis Alonso of Clifford Chance 

“UEFA and FIFA do not have the exclusive right to organise competitions. 

“The Bosman case enshrined the free movement of workers in professional sport and I am convinced that the Super League will enshrine free competition in professional sport,” he added. 

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