Spain was absent from the Group of 26 European nations, which signed a joint declaration on Thursday protesting against the controversial Super League football project ahead of the UEFA Congress in Paris. The letter – signed by sports ministers from across the continent – while stressing the need for open competition – does not explicitly mention the Super League, but is clear in its opposition to the concept. Only two clubs, Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, are still publicly linked to the Super League project, a closed competition that aims to replace the UEFA Champions League – European club football's premier event.
In the letter, the ministers “invite sports governing bodies to organize sports competitions in compliance with the principles of openness, equal opportunity, sporting eligibility, connection between annual performances in domestic competitions and all European competitions, financial solidarity, integrity and equality Are.”
This comes in the wake of the European Union's Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in December that FIFA and UEFA had breached competition law by blocking breakaway leagues.
European football was dealt a major blow at the start of 2021, when its 12 biggest clubs announced they had signed up for the planned Super League, prompting a furious reaction from fans and a stern warning from UEFA against participation. The clubs and players involved will be banned. From competitions like World Cup.
Within 48 hours nine of the 12 rebel clubs – including six from the English Premier League – backed out and the project collapsed.
The promoters of the project, A22 Sports Management, have launched a legal challenge through the Spanish courts, which have referred the question to the ECJ.
A22 responded to last December's decision by crying victory and promising to launch a new project by dividing the 64 teams from across Europe into three divisions with promotion and demotion within their system.
But several big clubs, even those that had temporarily supported the previous venture, said they would not support the new plan.
“(We) support the key features of the European sporting model, including the pyramid structure, the open system of promotion and demotion, the grassroots approach and solidarity, the role of sport in national identity,” the letter said.
It also called on sports authorities to “preserve such core characteristics and values and in this regard to safeguard the balance between the economic dimension of sport and its educational and social functions”.
Regarding Spain's absence from the list of signatories, a source at the Spanish Sports Council made a direct reference to the Super League.
“The Spanish government has decided not to sign the declaration… because the Super League case remains unresolved,” the source said.
Spain is the only EU country where judicial processes related to separate leagues are underway, he said.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta said last week that the Super League “could start next season, or it would be in 2025-26, and if not, I would rethink everything.”
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