Report: 4 teams could receive 2-year ban for refusing to disavow Super League

·2 min read

Four teams involved in the disastrous Super League could reportedly be subject to "severe disciplinary action" from UEFA for failing to formally distance themselves from the extremely unpopular and failed experiment. 

According to ESPN, Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan are the only remaining teams who have failed to make a formal commitment to withdraw from the Super League. If they continue to refuse, UEFA could issue the most severe punishment in its arsenal: a two-year ban from the Champions League or Europa League.

Seven of the 12 teams — Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur — have reportedly "reached an understanding" with UEFA that in exchange for a lesser sanction, they will not pursue the Super League in the future. According to ESPN, Inter Milan is close to an agreement with UEFA, but one has yet to be announced. 

ESPN reported that according to the Super League's own statutes, the project won't be formally terminated until nine of the 12 teams pull out. With four teams still refusing to cooperate and one team's status still up in the air, UEFA is still working to reach that threshold.

Metal figures of football players are seen in front of the words
Metal figures of football players are seen in front of the words "European Super League" and the UEFA logo in this illustration taken April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Holdout teams clinging to rules

The four teams refusing to budge are reportedly doing so because they feel they've followed the rules to the letter — or perhaps artfully skirted them. UEFA Article 51 says that no UEFA affiliated clubs may form "combinations or alliances" without first seeking permission from UEFA. If the Super League were breaking away from UEFA, they'd be violating that. But they don't feel that's the case. 

Via ESPN:

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 organization.

Discipline could be illegal

This entire situation is made more complicated by an injunction the Super League was granted against soccer's various governing bodies. A Madrid court has forbidden any soccer governing body from announcing, threatening or preparing any discipline against the teams or players who joined or supported the Super League. 

According to ESPN, UEFA would be in violation of that injunction if it attempted to levy a fine or a ban as part of disciplinary proceedings. That's also a reason that UEFA is continuing to try and get a formal withdrawal commitment from one or two of the remaining teams. If they reach the nine-team threshold for league termination, the injunction may no longer be an issue. 

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