A victory for football fans over the power of the boardroom? Perhaps not.
Europe’s football governing body UEFA has opened disciplinary cases against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus that could lead to bans from the Champions League.
The three clubs now being prosecuted by UEFA are the remaining holdouts among 12 founders of the Super League project who refused to renounce it.
Proceedings are now active for “a potential violation of UEFA’s legal framework”, it said on Tuesday.
UEFA’s statutes include a section on “prohibited groupings” of clubs or leagues forming without its permission or outside its control.
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”.
UEFA gave no timetable for the expected disciplinary cases against the three which have all qualified on merit for the Champions League next season.
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.
The Champions League group-stage draw is on August 26 and matches start on September 14.
The nine clubs that settled with UEFA are AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham, plus Champions League finalists Chelsea and Manchester City.
Those clubs agreed to UEFA’s terms to forfeit 5 percent of their prize money from European competitions in the 2022-23 season and pay a combined 15 million euros ($18.4m) as a “gesture of goodwill” to benefit children, youth and grassroots football.
For a storied club, a successful season in the Champions League currently earns about 100 million euros ($122.5m) in UEFA prize money.
The European Super League project was publicly launched late at night on April 18 then imploded within 48 hours amid a furious backlash from fans and threats of legislation by the British government.
The three holdouts have begun legal action in a Madrid court against UEFA and FIFA, football’s world governing body.