ARE UEFA AND FIFA ABUSING THEIR DOMINANT POSITION TO STOP THE
EUROPEAN SUPER LEAGUE PROJECT? WHAT WILL THE CJEU SAY?
What is the new European Super League?
The European Super League (ESL) is a semi-closed competition launched by some of the most important European football clubs. It will compete between 20 top clubs comprising 15 founders and five annual qualifiers.
The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model and because the pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid.
The announcement of the European Super League received a lot of opposition and criticism from FIFA, UEFA, fans, players, managers, and other football clubs.
On 19 April, UEFA announced that it will begin making “legal assessments” and that the organization would look to ban the twelve Super League clubs.
The Super League has also provoked discussion about if we see a violation of competition law since this law promotes to maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conducts by companies.
Recently a Spanish commercial court Number 17 of Madrid refers a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJUE) whether FIFA and UEFA in their position against the European Super League project have an abuse of the dominant position and consequently, they have violated Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Article 101 of the TFEU states that: “All agreements between undertakings, all decisions by associations of undertakings and all concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have the object or effect of preventing, restricting or distorting play are incompatible with the internal market. competition within the internal market“.
While Article 102 of the TFEU emphasizes instead that: “The abusive exploitation by one or more undertakings of a dominant position on the internal market or on a substantial part of it is incompatible with the internal market and to the extent that trade between Member States may be prejudicial”.
The Judge asks the CJEU some preliminary questions to clarify how these articles should be interpreted in the main proceeding: “If FIFA and UEFA, as entities claiming exclusive competence to organize and authorize international football club competitions in Europe, prohibit or oppose, on the basis of the provisions of their statutes, the development of the Super League, it should be interpreted Article 101 TFEU in the sense that these restrictions on competition could benefit from the exception established in this provision, considering that production is substantially limited, the appearance of alternative products to those offered by FIFA / UEFA on the market is limited and does it restrict innovation, preventing other formats and modalities, eliminating potential competition in the market and limiting consumer choice?” .
It also points out that the UEFA and the FIFA are commercial companies and adds: “Would this restriction benefit from an objective justification which would make it possible to consider that there is no abuse of a dominant position within the meaning of Article 102 TFEU?“
What will be the Judgement of the Court regarding this issue? Moreover, how the response will affect the future of this project?
Use HIGH-BROWSE to be up-to-date about this awaited Judgement and all the EU legislation and case-laws.
Here is an example of a related case-law that you can find in HIGH-BROWSE, which can be helpful and allow you to read similar jurisprudence and guess what the answer or the CJEU will be:
62016CJ0179_SUM — 2018-01-23 — Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 23 January 2018.#F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and Others v Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato.#Reference for a preliminary ruling — Competition — Article 101 TFEU — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — Medicinal products — Directive 2001/83/EC — Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 — Allegations of risks associated with the use of a medicinal product for a treatment not covered by its marketing authorization (off-label) — Definition of relevant market — Ancillary restriction — Restriction of competition by object — Exemption.#Case C-179/16.
62013CJ0170 — 2015-07-16 — Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) of 16 July 2015.#Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd v ZTE Corp. and ZTE Deutschland GmbH.#Request for a preliminary ruling from the Landgericht Dusseldorf.#Competition — Article 102 TFEU — Undertaking holding a patent essential to a standard which has given a commitment, to the standardization body, to grant third parties a licence for that patent on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (‘FRAND terms’) — Abuse of a dominant position — Actions for infringement — Action seeking a prohibitory injunction — Action seeking the recall of products — Action seeking the rendering of accounts — Action for damages — Obligations of the proprietor of a patent which is essential to a standard.#Case C-170/13.
(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Competition — Pharmaceutical products — Barriers to the entry on the market of generic medicines arising from settlement agreements (relating to disputes concerning process patents) concluded by a manufacturer of originator medicines who is the holder of those patents and manufacturers of generic products — Article 101 TFEU — Potential competition — Restriction by an object — Characterization — Restriction by effect — Assessment of effects — Article 102 TFEU — Relevant market — Inclusion of generic medicines in the relevant market — Abuse of dominant position — Characterization — Justification).
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