UEFA are ready to pursue severe disciplinary action against clubs that signed up to the Super League and have yet to sufficiently distance themselves from the project, multiple sources familiar with the situation have told ESPN.
This could result in the maximum punishment under the organisation’s disciplinary pathway, which is a two-year ban from the Champions League or Europa League.
UEFA have spent the past 10 days in conversation with the 12 clubs in an effort to agree a lesser sanction and extract a formal definitive commitment not to pursue the Super League effort. As of Wednesday, according to sources familiar with the situation, they had reached an understanding with seven clubs: Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Inter Milan were close to an agreement as well, according to sources, though none has yet been reached.
The remaining four clubs — Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan — have so far stuck to their positions and could face the UEFA disciplinary process for, among other things, violating Article 51 of the statutes, which states that “No combinations or alliances between… clubs affiliated, directly or indirectly, to different UEFA Member Associations may be formed without the permission of UEFA.”
The four clubs holding out believe they are in a strong position, as the original documents filed with UEFA and FIFA stated that the Super League was asking the body “for permission” to run their competition and for “recognition” rather than breaking away from the organisation.
According to sources close to the group, UEFA would be in violation of an injunction granted by a Madrid court if it were to begin disciplinary proceedings.
An independent source familiar with UEFA statutes and the legal implications of the Madrid injunction confirmed to ESPN that it would be difficult to punish the clubs holding out without a protracted and uncertain legal battle.
If nine of the 12 clubs that committed to the Super League formally pull out, then, based on their own statutes, the project would be formally terminated, sources have told ESPN. This is why UEFA continue to chip away at the remaining clubs, hoping to persuade two others to formally abandon the venture. A protracted legal battle, especially in light of the Madrid court’s ruling, is in nobody’s interest.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin hinted that he would adopt a case-by-case approach in seeking dialogue with the 12 clubs, but that each would be punished.
“For me it’s a clear difference between the English clubs and the other six,” he said. “They pulled out first; they admitted they made a mistake.
“For me, there are three groups of this 12 — the English six, who went out first, then the other three [Atletico Madrid, Milan and Inter] after them and then the ones who feel the Earth is flat and they think the Super League still exists [Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus]. And there is a big difference between those. But everyone will be held responsible. In what way, we will see.”
Sources confirmed to ESPN that clubs that have pulled out of the venture could face stern financial penalties if the remaining clubs seek legal recourse based on the agreement signed by the Super League clubs.
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