There cannot be a football fan in any of all the main European domestic leagues who does not remember the absolute cluster shambles that became the European Super League experiment, and whilst it initially had some big club backing – plenty of those clubs quickly did a massive u-turn as fans across all the leagues made their feelings known as to where they could shove this closed door, and lacking in sporting integrity competition, in the fixture list.
Some clubs would not back down and instantly sought to undertake legal action, other clubs walked away quite happily in fear of alienating their own fanbases, but the core deciders of the plan did dig in on others, claiming they simply could not legally withdraw.
It seems those varying legal routes may not be coming to some kind of conclusion as the European Court of Justice has confirmed it will deliver its final verdict on the validity of the ESL on December 21st. The crux of the point from the remaining ESL members and their backers, the A22 group – many fans will feel it actually totally misses the real point at play that angered fans – is that UEFA and FIFA were breaking competition law given the threats to sanctioned participating clubs and players who agreed to join the breakaway misnomer of a league.
A report from the ECJ last December however, stated that the existing European and world governing bodies authority rules were ‘compatible with EU competition law’, but it was believed that the ECJ’s 15 strong Grand Chamber would back that ruling up in the spring – this did not prove to be the case and did lead to some uncertainty on the way forward.
December’s ruling will be a binding interpretation of European Union law, and one it is officially handed down, the case will be referred back to the Madrid commercial court so it can suitably apply the facts to the stated and presented cases.
Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to be the main proponents, but despite publicly signalling their intent to withdraw after 72 hours of the launch, other clubs have already accepted fines for their behaviour but action against Real, Barca and the Bianconeri was halted whilst legal proceedings continued.
Juventus, and Juventus fans, will likely simply be praying for the day that this horrific idea can be put behind them, that any fine can be paid, and then the whole episode can simply be put in the dumb and distant past of commercialised footballing ideas.
Alternatively, as many fans in the wider world of football actually hoped would be the conclusion, we wave those clubs away and their focus on returns and not fans, and then domestic league would inherently be a little bit fairer.
Players would have to make their own choices, but if the Saudi Arabia Pro League development is anything to go off – are they being missed?